Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vote Smart: See the data

The following is posted from a press release, not edited here, but shared as a public service for those interested:
 
 
 
"Vote Smart (VoteSmart.org), the leading non-partisan national research organization focused on politicians and elections, announced a series of massive additions to its factual database on over 150,000 current and former elected officials and candidates. Through Vote Smart’s Great Divide Research Center:

  • The records of 25,000 current politicians have been refreshed with their most up-to-date biographical information (professional experience, educational background, organization memberships, family information), contact information (websites, emails, mailing addresses, phone numbers, LinkedIn accounts, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts).
  • 80,000 speeches and public comments have been added to the 900,000 public statements already in Vote Smart’s key word-searchable databases. They are from the president, cabinet, governors, and all members of the US House and US Senate, as well as candidates seeking federal office in 2014.
  • 500 new ratings by special interest groups and over 1000 new endorsements of state and federal candidates have been added to the existing data from the 1,500 special interest groups Vote Smart tracks.
  • 1,325 Key Votes have been added, cast by legislators in all fifty state legislatures and Congress.
  • Political contributions to 15,000 politicians have been updated.
  • 13,000 candidates are currently being interviewed on their issue positions. The results will be made public in October.

Originally founded as Project Vote Smart by national leaders such as former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, today Vote Smart is the premier non-partisan nonprofit providing free interactive web-based tools to help citizens instantaneously learn about the voting records, backgrounds, issue positions, campaign contributions, interest group ratings, and public statements of incumbents and candidates for local, state and national office.  Vote Smart’s comprehensive research data is used by major media and search platforms including  Bing, USA Today and National Journal, as well as hundreds of universities throughout the United States.

Vote Smart is funded entirely by foundation grants and individual contributions.  No funding is accepted from special interests, corporations or the government, and 75% of the research is undertaken by a diverse pool of unpaid volunteers and interns of all ages and walks of life. "

For more information: VoteSmart.org

Monday, August 11, 2014

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON IRAQ

 
The following is President Obama's statement, released by the White House Monday. It is shared unedited here: 

Martha’s Vineyard, MA


5:08 P.M. EDT

    

     THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I wanted to provide an update on recent developments in Iraq, including some important steps forward as Iraqis form a new government.

 

Over the past few days, American forces have successfully conducted targeted airstrikes to prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil, and to protect American civilians there.  Kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend their city, and we’ve stepped up military advice and assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they wage the fight against ISIL. 

 

At the same time, we’ve continued our daily humanitarian efforts to provide life-saving assistance to the men, women and children stranded on Mount Sinjar, and deployed a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team to help.  Some have begun to escape their perch on that mountain, and we’re working with international partners to develop options to bring them to safety.  I want to thank in particular the United Kingdom, France, and other countries working with us to provide much needed assistance to the Iraqi people.  And, meanwhile, our aircraft remain positioned to strike any terrorist forces around the mountain who threaten the safety of these families.

 

This advances the limited military objectives we’ve outlined in Iraq:  protecting American citizens, providing advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle these terrorists, and joining with international partners to provide humanitarian aid.  But as I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government -- one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country’s fight against ISIL. 

 

Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort.   Last month, the Iraqi people named a new President.  Today, President Masum named a new Prime Minister designate, Dr. Haider al-Abadi.  Under the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new government that can unite Iraq’s different communities. 

 

Earlier today, Vice President Biden and I called Dr. Abadi to congratulate him and to urge him to form a new cabinet as quickly as possible -- one that’s inclusive of all Iraqis, and one that represents all Iraqis.  I pledged our support to him, as well as to President Masum and Speaker Jabouri, as they work together to form this government.  Meanwhile, I urge all Iraqi political leaders to work peacefully through the political process in the days ahead.

 

This new Iraqi leadership has a difficult task.  It has to regain the confidence of its citizens by governing inclusively and by taking steps to demonstrate its resolve.  The United States stands ready to support a government that addresses the needs and grievances of all Iraqi people.  We are also ready to work with other countries in the region to deal with the humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge in Iraq.  Mobilizing that support will be easier once this new government is in place.

 

These have been difficult days in Iraq -- a country that has faced so many challenges in its recent history.  And I’m sure that there will be difficult days ahead.  But just as the United States will remain vigilant against the threat posed to our people by ISIL, we stand ready to partner with Iraq in its fight against these terrorist forces.  Without question, that effort will be advanced if Iraqis continue to build on today’s progress, and come together to support a new and inclusive government.

 

Thanks, everybody.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

'CT League of Conservation Voters Gives Reed 100 percent on Annual Scorecard'

In a release from legislative staffers, the office of state Rep. Lonnie Reed, D-Branford, said that the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters awarded her "a 100 percent rating for her support and advocacy of environmental and energy initiatives in their 2014 Environmental Scorecard."
     “I’m honored to be recognized again by the League of Conservation Voters,” said . Reed said, also in the release.  “Connecticut fights ongoing battles to ensure that our state is a clean, safe, healthy and beautiful place to live, work and bring up our children.  Environmental protection and economic development can and must be pursued together. I remain committed to defending the gains we’ve made and to doing what it takes to protect and enhance the quality of life for all of our citizens.”       
   "As House Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, Rep. Reed played a critical role in promoting, developing and winning passage of a new law to prevent fracking waste, a toxic bi-product of the natural gas industry, from being dumped in Connecticut," the release said.
  Reed is in her 3rd term serving the 102nd Assembly District and serves as the House chairwoman of the Energy and Technology Committee and as co-chairwoman of the pi-partisan Long Island Sound Caucus.   She represents Connecticut on the Bi-State Long Island Sound Commission with New York, the release said.
 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Read: President Obama's statement on Ukraine and Gaza

The following was released by the White House (unedited here) 
 
 THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I want to make a brief statement about the tragedy in Ukraine.  Before I do, though, I want to note that Secretary Kerry has departed for the Middle East.  As I’ve said many times, Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas.  And as a result of its operations, Israel has already done significant damage to Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.  I’ve also said, however, that we have serious concerns about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives.  And that is why it now has to be our focus and the focus of the international community to bring about a cease-fire that ends the fighting and that can stop the deaths of innocent civilians, both in Gaza and in Israel.

    

     So Secretary Kerry will meet with allies and partners.  I’ve instructed him to push for an immediate cessation of hostilities based on a return to the November 2012 cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.  The work will not be easy.  Obviously, there are enormous passions involved in this and some very difficult strategic issues involved.  Nevertheless, I’ve asked John to do everything he can to help facilitate a cessation to hostilities.  We don’t want to see any more civilians getting killed.

 

     With respect to Ukraine, it’s now been four days since Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over territory controlled by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.  Over the last several days, our hearts have been absolutely broken as we’ve learned more about the extraordinary and beautiful lives that were lost -- men, women and children and infants who were killed so suddenly and so senselessly.

    

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with their families around the world who are going through just unimaginable grief.  I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a number of leaders around the world whose citizens were lost on this flight, and all of them remain in a state of shock but, frankly, also in a state of outrage. 

    

     Our immediate focus is on recovering those who were lost, investigating exactly what happened, and putting forward the facts.  We have to make sure that the truth is out and that accountability exists. 

 

Now, international investigators are on the ground.  They have been organized.  I’ve sent teams; other countries have sent teams.  They are prepared, they are organized to conduct what should be the kinds of protocols and scouring and collecting of evidence that should follow any international incident like this.  And what they need right now is immediate and full access to the crash site.  They need to be able to conduct a prompt and full and unimpeded as well as transparent investigation.  And recovery personnel have to do the solemn and sacred work on recovering the remains of those who were lost.

 

Ukrainian President Poroshenko has declared a demilitarized zone around the crash site.  As I said before, you have international teams already in place prepared to conduct the investigation and recover the remains of those who have been lost.  But, unfortunately, the Russian-backed separatists who control the area continue to block the investigation.  They have repeatedly prevented international investigators from gaining full access to the wreckage.  As investigators approached, they fired their weapons into the air.  These separatists are removing evidence from the crash site, all of which begs the question -- what exactly are they trying to hide?

 

Moreover, these Russian-backed separatists are removing bodies from the crash site, oftentimes without the care that we would normally expect from a tragedy like this.  And this is an insult to those who have lost loved ones.  This is the kind of behavior that has no place in the community of nations.

 

Now, Russia has extraordinary influence over these separatists.  No one denies that.  Russia has urged them on.  Russia has trained them.  We know that Russia has armed them with military equipment and weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons.  Key separatist leaders are Russian citizens.  So given its direct influence over the separatists, Russia and President Putin, in particular, has direct responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation.  That is the least that they can do. 

 

President Putin says that he supports a full and fair investigation.  And I appreciate those words, but they have to be supported by actions.  The burden now is on Russia to insist that the separatists stop tampering with the evidence, grant investigators who are already on the ground immediate, full and unimpeded access to the crash site.  The separatists and the Russian sponsors are responsible for the safety of the investigators doing their work.  And along with our allies and partners, we will be working this issue at the United Nations today. 

 

More broadly, as I’ve said throughout this crisis and the crisis in Ukraine generally, and I’ve said this directly to President Putin, as well as publicly, my preference continues to be finding a diplomatic resolution within Ukraine.  I believe that can still happen.  That is my preference today, and it will continue to be my preference.

 

But if Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and to back these separatists, and these separatists become more and more dangerous and now are risks not simply to the people inside of Ukraine but the broader international community, then Russia will only further isolate itself from the international community, and the costs for Russia’s behavior will only continue to increase. 

 

Now is the time for President Putin and Russia to pivot away from the strategy that they’ve been taking and get serious about trying to resolve hostilities within Ukraine in a way that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and respects the right of the Ukrainian people to make their own decisions about their own lives.

 

And time is of the essence.  Our friends and allies need to be able to recover those who were lost.  That's the least we can do.  That's the least that decency demands.  Families deserve to be able to lay their loved ones to rest with dignity.  The world deserves to know exactly what happened.  And the people of Ukraine deserve to determine their own future. 

 

Thanks.

Remarks by President Obama at signing of executive order on LGBT workplace discrimination

 
 
The following is a press release from the White House today (unedited here - scroll to the bottom to read the order Obama signed)
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Welcome to the White House, everybody.  I know I'm a little late.  But that's okay because we've got some big business to do here. 

 

Many of you have worked for a long time to see this day coming.  You organized, you spoke up, you signed petitions, you sent letters -- I know because I got a lot of them.  (Laughter.) And now, thanks to your passionate advocacy and the irrefutable rightness of your cause, our government -- government of the people, by the people, and for the people -- will become just a little bit fairer.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Amen.  (Applause.) 

 

THE PRESIDENT:  It doesn’t make much sense, but today in America, millions of our fellow citizens wake up and go to work with the awareness that they could lose their job, not because of anything they do or fail to do, but because of who they are --  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.  And that’s wrong.  We’re here to do what we can to make it right -- to bend that arc of justice just a little bit in a better direction. 

 

In a few moments, I will sign an executive order that does two things.  First, the federal government already prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  Once I sign this order, the same will be explicitly true for gender identity.  (Applause.)   

 

And second, we’re going to prohibit all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against their LGBT employees.  (Applause.)    America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people. 

 

Now, this executive order is part of a long bipartisan tradition.  President Roosevelt signed an order prohibiting racial discrimination in the national defense industry.  President Eisenhower strengthened it.  President Johnson expanded it.  Today, I'm going to expand it again. 

 

Currently, 18 states have already banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  And over 200 cities and localities have done the same.  Governor Terry McAuliffe is here; his first act as governor was to prohibit discrimination against LGBT employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  (Applause.)  Where did Terry go?  Right back here. 

 

I’ve appointed a record number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public servants to positions across my administration.  They are ambassadors and federal judges, special assistants, senior advisors from the Pentagon to the Labor Department.  Every day, their talent is put to work on behalf of the American people.

 

Equality in the workplace is not only the right thing to do, it turns out to be good business.  That’s why a majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies in place.  It is not just about doing the right thing -- it’s also about attracting and retaining the best talent.  And there are several business leaders who are here today who will attest to that. 

 

And yet, despite all that, in too many states and in too many workplaces, simply being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender can still be a fireable offense.  There are people here today who’ve lost their jobs for that reason.  This is not speculative, this is not a matter of political correctness -- people lose their jobs as a consequence of this.  Their livelihoods are threatened, their families are threatened.  In fact, more states now allow same-sex marriage than prohibit discrimination against LGBT workers.  So I firmly believe that it’s time to address this injustice for every American. 

 

Now, Congress has spent 40 years -- four decades -- considering legislation that would help solve the problem.  That's a long time.  And yet they still haven’t gotten it done.  Senators Terry [Tammy] Baldwin and Jeff Merkley are here.  They have been champions of this issue for a long, long time.  We are very proud of them.  I know they will not stop fighting until fair treatment for all workers is the federal law of the land.  Everyone thanks them for that.  (Applause.)   

 

But I’m going to do what I can, with the authority I have, to act.  The rest of you, of course, need to keep putting pressure on Congress to pass federal legislation that resolves this problem once and for all.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Amen!

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Amen.  Amen.  (Applause.)  Got the “amen” corner here.  (Laughter.)  Well -- (sings) -- (laughter.)  You don't want to get me preaching, now.  (Laughter.)     

 

For more than two centuries, we have strived, often at great cost, to form “a more perfect union” -- to make sure that “we, the people” applies to all the people.  Many of us are only here because others fought to secure rights and opportunities for us. And we’ve got a responsibility to do the same for future generations.  We’ve got an obligation to make sure that the country we love remains a place where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what your last name is, or who you love -- no matter what, you can make it in this country. 

 

That’s the story of America.  That’s the story of this movement.  I want to thank all of you for doing your part.  We've got a long way to go, but I hope as everybody looks around this room, you are reminded of the extraordinary progress that we have made not just in our lifetimes, but in the last five years.  In the last two years.  (Applause.)  In the last one year.  (Applause.)  We're on the right side of history. 

 

I’m going to sign this executive order.  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)

 

(The executive order is signed.)

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

DeLauro co-sponsors bill in reaction to Hobby Lobby case


In a press release from the office of U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, her office announced that  legislation responding to the Hobby Lobby decision has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

"The Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014 would prohibit for-profit employers who maintain group health plans for their employees from using religious beliefs to deny employees coverage of any vital health service required by federal law," the release said.

DeLauro "is an original co-sponsor of legislation responding to the Supreme Court's decisions in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Burwell." the release said.

"Last week the United States Supreme Court put corporate desires before the needs of women and families, which is the exact opposite of the Affordable Care Act's intent. Women should be able to make their own health care decisions regardless of where they work and without interference from their bosses. This bill protects employees' rights to health services that an independent, non-partisan body has deemed crucial. It needs to be the law of the land."

The release also said: "The bill keeps in place the existing exemption for religious employers, such as houses of worship, and accommodation for religious non-profits that do not wish to provide contraception."

"Ninety-nine percent of sexually-active women use birth control at least once in their lifetimes, and 58 percent of oral contraceptive users cite non-contraceptive health benefits as reasons for using the pill. Fourteen percent of birth control pill users, more than 1,500,000 women, rely on birth control pills for only non-contraceptive purpose" Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

McCaskill announces 'Campus Sexual Assault Survey Findings'

The results of "a first-of-its-kind national survey on campus sexual assaults" were announced Wednesday by U.S. Senator and former sex crimes prosecutor Claire McCaskill.

"The massive survey of schools will demonstrate exactly how colleges and universities handle rapes and sexual assaults on campuses—focusing on if and how such crimes are reported and investigated, how students are notified about available services, and the effectiveness of federal oversight and enforcement."

Read the report here:



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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Connecticut will have 23 primaries across the state on Aug. 12

In a press release, Sec. of the State Denise Merrill announced registered Democrats and Republicans in Connecticut will be able to vote Aug. 12, "in at least 23 primaries for state elections."

"Republican primaries will be held for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and State Comptroller, as well as a number of state legislative seats and local offices such as Judge of Probate and Registrar of Voters.  Registered Democrats, depending on their geographic location, will be able to cast ballots in primaries for various state house and senate seats, Judge of Probate, and Registrar of Voters," the release said.

Tom Foley and John McKinney are the Republican candidates for governor. (Scroll down to see the full list of candidates in the primaries)

The release also noted: "There is no statewide Democratic primary on the ballot in 2014, nor is there any primary for federal office.  A list of primaries on the ballot for August 12, 2014 can be found below."
 
“It is important that voters are fully aware of the primaries taking place on August 12th,” Merrill said, also in the release. “We in Connecticut have a number of open seats in our General Assembly on both sides of the aisle, and many candidates lining up to replace outgoing legislators. I encourage registered Democrats and Republicans to find out about the candidates and make their voices heard on primary day by casting ballots.  Critical issues such as our economy and our state budget are at stake and will be impacted by the decisions made by those we choose to represent us in Hartford.  The more than 800,000 unaffiliated voters in Connecticut should also know they can take part in choosing Democratic or Republican candidates by enrolling with either party by August 11th at noon.”
 
Go to www.sots.ct.gov to learn how to register to vote, check registration status, find polling location, download absentee ballot applications, and view candidate lists.
 
The release also noted the deadline to register to vote in the Aug, 12 primary: Online voter registration and mail-in registration cards must be received by local Registrars of Voters by August 7.
 
"Voting age citizens and 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by the general election can also register in-person at town offices until Monday, August 11th at 12:00 p.m. "
 
Unaffiliated voters face those same deadlines if they wish to enroll with a party in order to vote in the primaries. Any eligible voter can also register online at www.sots.ct.gov
 
Polls will be open for registered Democrats and Republicans on Primary Day in Connecticut August 12, 2014 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
 
Per the release, these primaries reported to the Office of the Secretary of the State will be on the ballot on August 12(* denotes party endorsed candidate):
 
Office

Party

Candidate

 
 
 
Governor
Republican
*Thomas C. Foley
 
 
John P. McKinney
 
 
 
Lieutenant Governor
Republican
*Penny Bacchiochi
 
 
Heather Somers
 
 
David M. Walker
 
 
 
Comptroller
Republican
*Sharon J. McLaughlin
 
 
Angel Cadena
 
 
 
State Senate – 2
Democratic
*Shawn Wooden
 
 
Eric D. Coleman
 
 
Len Walker
 
 
 
State Senate – 20
Democratic
*Elizabeth B. Ritter
 
 
William L. Satti
 
 
 
State Senate – 22
Democratic
*Anthony J. Musto
 
 
Marilyn Moore
 
 
 
State Senate – 23
Democratic
*Andres Ayala, Jr.
 
 
Scott Hughes
 
 
 
Assembly District – 7
Democratic
*Douglas McCroy
 
 
Donna Thompson-Daniel
 
 
 
Assembly District – 23
Republican
*Devin R. Carney
 
 
Vicki Lanier
 
 
 
Assembly District – 32
Democratic
*Kathleen G. Richards
 
 
Anthony “Tony” Salvatore
 
 
 
Assembly District – 44
Democratic
*Christine Rosati
 
 
Michael Cartier
 
 
 
Assembly District – 47
Republican
No Endorsement
 
 
Doug Dubitsky
 
 
Noah Enslow
 
 
Michael P. Meadows
 
 
 
Assembly District – 48
Democratic
*Linda A. Orange
 
 
Jason Paul
 
 
 
Assembly District – 64
Republican
*Brian Ohler
 
 
Mark Lauretano
 
 
 
Assembly District – 122
Republican
*Ben McGorty
 
 
Michael C. Vickerelli
 
 
 
Assembly District – 124
Democratic
*Ernie Newton
 
 
Andre Baker
 
 
 
Assembly District – 128
Democratic
*Christopher Rosario
 
 
Christina Ayala
 
 
Dennis Bradley
 
 
Teresa Davidson
 
 
 
Assembly District – 133
Democratic
*Cristin McCarthy Vahey
 
 
Matt Waggner
 
 
 
Assembly District – 137
Democratic
*David Watts
 
 
Chris Perone
 
 
 
Assembly District – 140
Democratic
*Bruce Morris
 
 
Warren Pena
 
 
 
Assembly District – 142
Republican
*Emily Wilson
 
 
Fred Wilms
 
 
 
Probate District Plainfield – Killingly – 27
Democratic
*Andrea Truppa
 
 
Anna Zubkova
 
 
 
Probate District Madison – Guilford – 34
Republican
*William Bilcheck
 
 
Gail S. Kotowski
 
Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Read Connecticut Supreme Court ruling on release of police information to public and media

According to The Associated Press: "The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that police statewide only have to release basic information about arrests to the public while prosecutions are pending, striking a blow to the media."

Read the court's full ruling here:

Connecticut Commission Public Safety vs FOI 312CR46


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Tom Foley cmpaign first ad of 2014 features his family

In a campaign press release, Today Tom Foley, party-endorsed Republican candidate for governor, released the campaign's first ad of the 2014 election cycle.  

 
The ad's  script according to the release, is:

Leslie: I’ve never met a more thoughtful, effective person than Tom Foley

Tom’s incredibly smart, he can fix anything

He’s a regular guy, whose ideas and humor bring people together

Tom’s an optimist who gets things done

He’s a great dad, who would make a great Governor
.

Tom: I’m Tom Foley; Connecticut’s problems can be fixed with smarter policies and new direction

Nobody should be doing better than right here in Connecticut

It’s time to restore prosperity and optimism in our great state.

I’m Tom Foley and I approve this message


  Foley faces state Sen. John McKinney, R-Fairfield, in an Aug, 12 GOP primary.
 

Monday, June 30, 2014

'Department of Defense Releases Strategy to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction'

 
The following was released today by the U.S Department of Defense. It is unedited here:


Today the Department of Defense released its strategy for countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This strategy will direct the department's efforts to prevent hostile actors from acquiring WMD, contain and reduce WMD threats, and ensure that DOD can respond effectively to WMD crises.

"The pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and potential use by actors of concern pose a threat to U.S. national security and peace and stability around the world," Secretary Hagel writes in the foreword to the strategy. The constant evolution of WMD materials, tactics and technologies calls for flexible and innovative solutions from the full range of DOD tools and capabilities. This strategy places a premium on cooperative efforts to shape the environment and early action to prevent threats before they fully emerge.

The Department of Defense Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction seeks to ensure that the United States and its allies and partners are neither attacked nor coerced by hostile actors with WMD. "This strategy provides foundational guidance for enacting the department's countering WMD policies, plans, and programs and advances a comprehensive response to existing and developing WMD threats," Secretary Hagel writes. The strategy recognizes that, as we have seen in Syria, "instability in states pursuing or possessing WMD or related capabilities could lead to dangerous WMD crises" and calls upon DOD to improve collaboration and cooperation to reduce and eliminate such threats.

Recognizing that fiscal constraints require DOD to make strategic choices, the strategy emphasizes the importance of cooperating with partnersincluding other U.S. departments and agencies, allies and partners, and international bodies to achieve countering WMD goals.

Endorsing the strategy, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey writes "Our capability to defeat aggression will not be undermined by the threatened or actual use of WMD."

Read the full strategy here.

A fact sheet on the strategy can be found here.

Connecticut politicians react to Hobby Lobby ruling

Per the Associated Press: "The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women." (scroll down to read the entire ruling)

After the ruling, Connecticut politicians and others reacted to it.

Here are some of the reaction (from emailed releases; more will be added as received):

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, (senior Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for funding the Department of Health and Human Services):

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court is a serious step backwards for women's health and will negatively affect not just women, but their families as well. The idea that a corporation's rights should be placed above the rights of women is outrageous. Women should be able to make their own health care decisions regardless of where they work and without interference from their bosses. Covering effective preventive services, which include contraception, is a critical part of the Affordable Care Act and should not be dependent on whether your boss says you can have access to basic health care."


U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.:

Today, the Supreme Court held for the first time that the religious rights of corporations trump the personal freedoms of American women. This decision undermines millions of American women's access to birth control. Religious liberty is about the right to practice your religion, not the right to impose your religion on your employees. Congress must act to restore workers' right to make their own health care decisions.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy:

“While we should all respect each other’s right to hold different positions based on religious beliefs, women should not be denied access to reproductive healthcare benefits due to the personal beliefs of their employer. Today’s decision from the Supreme Court is an affront to that very basic and fundamental idea,” said Governor Malloy. “In our diverse society, it is unconscionable that the religious beliefs of a private, for-profit employer can dictate the kind of medical care that is available to an employee.  We will review this decision and assess the impact it may have in Connecticut.”

Lt. Gov. Wyman:

“Providing the option of contraceptive coverage is part of serving the healthcare needs of women, it is just that simple,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “Carving out exemptions to medicines or treatment is tantamount to restricting access—it puts women at risk and that is unacceptable. This Supreme Court decision reminds us that we have a lot left to do in our fight for equity for women.”


U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5,:

“Today’s ruling is misguided and extremely troubling,” Esty said. “A woman’s health care decisions should be made by the woman and her doctor—not her employer. The Supreme Court has extended the notion of corporate personhood to an extreme. Whether it is allowing corporations to flood money into our political elections in Citizens United or unduly restricting access to basic health care in today’s Hobby Lobby decision, the court is setting a dangerous and damaging precedent for our democracy.

“Every American deserves access to high-quality health care coverage and should have the ability to make their own medical and religious decisions, regardless of where they work. Birth control is basic, preventive health care relied on by millions of women and their families. Access to birth control is directly linked to the declining maternal and infant mortality rate, a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, fewer unintended pregnancies and abortions, and better overall health and quality of life for women. Quite simply, access to effective birth control makes an enormous difference in women’s health and lives.  I strongly disagree with today’s ruling, which is a major step backwards in our pursuit for women’s rights and gender equality.

“I intend to work with my colleagues on legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s misguided ruling to ensure basic protections for women’s health." Already, over 27 million women have benefited from the Affordable Care Act’s provision that requires insurance companies to cover birth control with no out-of-pocket cost.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen:
 "While my office is reviewing today's Supreme Court decisions – including what effect, if any, that Harris v. Quinn may have on home healthcare workers in the state of Connecticut – both of these decisions, while narrow in their scope, are disappointing.  I am deeply concerned about the impact of the decisions on working families and particularly about the disproportionate impact that the decisions may have on women in our country's workforce.
 
"My office joined with partner states on amicus briefs in both of these cases, and we will continue to support the rights of workers and the rights of women under our state and federal laws."
 
Christine A. Palm, communications director, Permanent Commission on the Status of Women:
 
“This appalling decision by the Supreme Court further erodes a woman’s autonomy over her own body and healthcare,” said Christine Palm, PCSW Communications Director. “To invest corporations with the power to be a regulating force over private matters sets a very bad precedent, and it cannot be overlooked that this decision affects women, not the full spectrum of the workforce.”
 
 

 Read or download the full ruling here:
 

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