Aiken Area Progressive

Progressive blog for the Central Savannah River Area.

Category: women’s news

Tenth Circuit Court issues watershed ruling favoring nudity rights in tossing Fort Collins’s nudity ban in the trash can

Denver, Colo. — The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Constitution in throwing the City of Fort Collins’s ordinance banning public nudity in the trash can on Friday.

The ruling was 2-1, with Judges Gregory Phillips and Mary Beck Briscoe voting to strike down the entire ordinance rather than strike down the part of that bans women from being topless in public.

“Laws grounded in stereotypes about the way women are serve no important governmental interest,” wrote Judge Phillips in a 27-page opinion.

Phillips took a extremely dim view of Fort Collins’s concerns that public nudity posed a danger to children and might distract drivers into crashing. Boulder, located between Fort Collins and Denver, is the only other Colorado municipality that has a public nudity ban on the books. Public nudity is legal in the socially conservative city of Colorado Springs.

“The need to protect children arises, instead, from the city’s fear of topless women parading in front of elementary schools, or swimming topless in the public pool — scenarios that it described to the court,” continued Phillips. “But laws in the neighboring cities of Boulder and Denver, and in many other jurisdictions, allow female toplessness and the city presented no evidence of any harmful fallout.”

Enacted in late 2017 despite the fact that it is blatantly unconstitutional, Fort Collins’ public nudity ban threatens to levy a fine up to $2,650 or a 180-day jail sentence against offenders who “knowingly appear in any public place in a nude state or state of undress such that the genitals or buttocks of either sex or the breast or breasts of a female are exposed.”

The plaintiffs in this case are Brittiany Hoagland and Samantha Six of Free the Nipple-Fort Collins Chapter. They filed a lawsuit almost immediately after Fort Collins passed Ordinance 134 in late 2017.

The case may be headed to the Supreme Court due to the fact that a three judge panel in the Seventh Circuit nearly twelve months ago ruled Chicago’s public nudity ban as constitutional, despite the fact that it mirrored Fort Collins’s ordinance.

“Plaintiffs believe that this is a HUGE victory for women’s rights and is cause for great celebration,” wrote David Lane, the attorney for Free the Nipple, in a press release.

Read the 27-page majority opinion here.

Courthouse News
Denver Post

Republicans call for special order to ban second trimester abortions

Columbia — The party of big intrusive government is at it again in the state legislature.

This time, the Republicans want to ban abortions in the second trimester.

According to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic South Carolina president Vicki Ringer, the GOP called for a special order on H. 3548, a bill that passed the House under regular rules in the winter because the GOP hates women.

Imagine if these arrogant politicians dictated to doctors how to perform open heart surgery or a colonoscopy, both of which are much more dangerous for women than abortion.

And conservatives ever wonder why no self-respecting woman will ever vote for them.

Let’s send H. 3548 to its graveyard. Call your state Senator or text 50409 to the Resistbot to find your state Senators and demand they vote no on H. 3548!

The US government has officially committed an act of war against its own citizens and the world by enacting FOSTA as law

Washington, DC — The federal government has officially committed an act of war on its own citizens and the world.

Today, Trump signed House Resolution 1865, a bill that bans sex from the internet, therefore violating the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth amendments.

This bill came about because the federal government decided that users on the internet had too much freedom of speech.

Already, more than a thousand online dating sites — including Craigslist, the Erotic Review (TER) and Backpage — have shut down or have been seized by the federal government since 97 anti-sex extremists in the US Senate voted for the FOSTA law on March 21.

FOSTA has already been proven to do nothing to fight sex trafficking. The only thing FOSTA has done was censor the internet globally and kill sex workers here at home.

The true goal of FOSTA supporters is to outlaw sex entirely — this is the first step towards that goal.

Let the lawsuits commence. We strongly support the effort to overturn FOSTA.

Good news, Illini women: House Bill 40 takes effect as planned

Springfield, Ill. — A state court judge on Friday upheld a state law known as House Bill 40, rejecting a challenge from a primary challenger to incumbent governor Bruce Rauner (R).

The ruling means that the law, which expands abortion rights in the Land of Lincoln, will take effect at midnight CDT on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

Illinois is, at least until 11:59 pm CDT on Monday, January 1, 2018, one of 24 states that have a state version of the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits public and even private funding of abortion and contraceptives. With Gov. Rauner signing HB 40 into law, it will be the first ever to repeal a Hyde Amendment-like measure. His signing of the bill into law has spawned a challenge from Jeanne Ives. Ives is the main plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed with the help of the Thomas More Society. They plan to appeal the ruling first thing Tuesday, hours after the law officially takes effect.

The Chicago Tribune

#MeToo goes local as Williston-Elko Middle School axes principal

The #metoo campaign has gone local.

On December 18, the Williston-Elko School Board voted to ax Greg Sweet as the principal of Williston-Elko Middle School, the People-Sentinel of Barnwell reported.

Mr. Sweet has been accused of sexual harassment, allegations that have ensnared at least 190 prominent national and state figures, ranging from Harvey Weinstein to congressional candidate Andrea Ramsey (D-Kan.).

 

If you solicit money from someone, you will be jailed for no less than ten years under this proposal – even if no sexual favors are involved!

Washington, DC – Thinking about messaging men for money via text or Facebook Messenger? That will cost you your freedom for a very long time, ladies.

Under a new amendment Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) introduced Monday evening, anyone who messages to solicit money for any reason from another person would be sent to a federal jail for ten years or more.

While Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s post notes that this proposal is about messages that lead to an act of prostitution, Goodlatte’s proposal goes far beyond that. It even criminalizes the simple act of planning a date using digital means.

Mobile network operators – AT&T Mobility, Cricket, MetroPCS, Page Plus, Sprint, T-Mobile, Tracfone Wireless (including Straight Talk and Net 10), US Cellular and Verizon Wireless – would be given a huge incentive to track your text messages and give your messages to government agents. Digital platforms would be given the same incentives to do likewise.

The amendment was offered as a companion to House Resolution 1865, introduced by Ann Wagner (R-Mo.). Both measures, which would repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 outright, will be considered at any moment.

The underlying bill, which has 171 co-sponsors from both parties, would repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and would open digital platforms to criminal and civil liability not just for future sex crimes that result from user posts or interactions but also for past harms brokered by the platforms in some way. So platforms that followed previous federal laws (which encouraged less content moderation in order to avoid liability) would now be especially vulnerable to charges and lawsuits.

Under current law, only the federal government has the authority to bring charges against mobile network operators, mobile apps and web services as much of the user-generated content (which is more heavily regulated under state laws) conflicts with the more lenient federal laws. If HR 1865 passes, it would allow for states to prosecute anyone, including web services and their third-party content creators, for monetary solicitation. No exceptions would be made under the proposal, which would make innocuous messages like one my longtime friend sent to a dude on Messenger on Sunday night a federal offense.

The underlying bill would repeal and replace Section 230 with a new federal crime of benefitting from participation in a venture engaged in the exchanges of money for any purpose, and makes it easy to hold all sorts of web platforms and publishers in violation.

Any “provider of an interactive service” who hosts user-posted information with reckless disregard that the information provided…is in furtherance of sex trafficking (or any exchange of money for any reason) or an attempt to commit such an offense could face a fine and up to 20 years in prison, the bill states. And nothing “shall be construed to require the Federal Government in a prosecution, or a plaintiff in a civil action, to prove any intent on the part of the information content provider.”

What that means is that my friend’s message to a man on Sunday night after promising to go through with her plans the previous night would nab Facebook on a federal charge under HR 1865.

And that’s not all. Her message would also get her prosecuted (if the dude lives in another state) and she could be jailed for 10 if Goodlatte’s amendment is approved as a companion to HR 1865. The Goodlatte amendment significantly expands on the Mann Act. Currently, the Mann Act only criminalizes sex work if the sex worker is a passenger in a vehicle and is being transported across state lines. Goodlatte’s amendment would expand significantly on that, declaring that whoever uses or operates a facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce or attempts to do so with the intent to exchange money for any reason would be subject to being jailed for ten years. The amendment additionally declares that anyone that “solicits or demands money from 5 or more persons” or “acts in reckless disregard of the fact that any monetary exchanges are in fact contributing to sex trafficking” could face a fine and up to 25 years of imprisonment.

Had my friend solicited money from at least five men who lives outside of South Carolina, she’d be facing 25 years in federal prison. And that proposal, if it becomes law, would apply to any monetary exchanges between people, even if no sexual favors are involved whatsoever.

These bills, as well as the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act, are not only unconstitutional – these bills violate basic human rights. And the worst part about them? They do nothing to combat sex trafficking. All these bills do is drive dating ads further underground, making it both harder to rescue victims of sexual abuse and harder for willing adult sex workers to conduct business safely, while simultaneously enabling unscrupulous attacks on the Internet, putting an insane chill on all internet speech, and opening the way for even more government prying into everyone’s digital lives, even on feature phones.

TOTALLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL is the only word needed to describe Ocean City’s emergency public nudity ban

Ocean City, Md. — The Ocean City government thought it would be a good idea to call an emergency session to infringe on the US Constitution.

In a lame attempt to cover their behinds, the town placed language in the ordinance claiming that “there is no constitutional right for an individual to appear in public nude or in a state of nudity”.

That argument will not fly in the Fourth Circuit as the 24-hour old ordinance violates four separate state and federal laws and amendments:

  1. A 2002 state law in Maryland not only repealed the state ban on public nudity, it also preempted all local ordinances that banned public nudity too. That means that as long as Ocean City is a part of Maryland, they are not allowed to prohibit public nudity. State law is unambiguous here.
  2. The exemption that allows for breastfeeding in public violates Article 46 of the state’s Constitution. It states:

    Equality of rights under the law shall not be abridged or denied because of sex (added by Chapter 366, Acts of 1972, ratified Nov. 7, 1972. Amended by Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978).

    Again, for those who have difficulty comprehending: the breastfeeding exemption alone violates this Article. Add in the fact that this ordinance will not apply to topless men and you have a second violation of the Article.

  3. The ordinance violates the Free Exercise and Religious Freedom clauses of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. In recent years, federal courts have ruled that public nudity is protected speech, even with the O’Brien Test that was adopted in 1968. Public Nudity is also a religious freedom issue as covered in the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that came about after several Supreme Court rulings – Barnes being among them – that the federal government felt infringed on religious liberty. So, simply saying that there is no constitutional right to be naked in public may slide by with out of touch judicial activists, but such claims no longer cut it with the strict constructionalists former President Barack Obama appointed to the Fourth Circuit.
  4. This ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As explained in #2, men are not required to cover up and breastfeeding is still allowed in the town.

As female nudity rights advocate Chelsea Covington put it, Ocean City believes they can violate the Constitution at will.

“Ocean City seems to feel that the Constitution does not apply to them, but a high court will decide,” she said.

Indeed. We will support Ms. Covington as she prepares her lawsuit against Ocean City. We expect that the town will be served wth the lawsuit first thing Monday morning.

USC wins the NCAA Women’s National Championship

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Dallas — At long last, Dawn Staley did something she was unable to do as a player.

Win a national title.

USC fell behind early in the 1Q, but flexed their muscles down the stretch as the Gamecocks beat Mississippi State – the team that ended Connecticut’s 111-game winning streak on Saturday morning – for the third time in the season, 67-55. Read the rest of this entry »

Today is the first of two GoTopless Days in 2016 – and law-abiding citizens are still being treated as criminals based on zip code

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Today is the first of two GoTopless Days this year (thanks to the leaping of August 1 from Saturday to Monday), and some locations in the United States and Canada are having events today.

However, all events regionally – in Asheville, Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina – are scheduled for a week from today, weather permitting.  We will post a forecast for those events as they near.

In the meantime, though, there is a very troubling trend ongoing where cities (Myrtle Beach, Timmonsville, Los Angeles and San Francisco among them) and the entire states of Indiana and Utah are openly violating the US Constitution without fear of consequences. Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft’s Deals Hub has a music deal with women artists only

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Redmond, Wash. — If you are among those in the majority who stuck with Windows 10 Mobile, you may have noticed an awesome treat if you want to discover women musicians and make your music collection a little more Bechdel friendly.

For $6.99 each, which is the price of a ten-piece chicken at Kentucky Fried Chicken, you can purchase these following titles in the Windows Store from women musicians:

  • Beyoncé Knowles’s self-titled fifth album
  • M!ssundaztood by P!nk
  • This is What the Truth Feels Like by Gwen Stefani
  • Laundry Service by Shakira
  • The Emancipation of Mimi by Mariah Carey
  • In the Zone by Britney Spears
  • J. Lo by Jennifer Lopez
  • Confessions on a Dance Floor by Madonna
  • Stronger by Kelly Clarkson
  • Goodies by Ciara

So, if you lack women musicians on your Windows 10 Mobile phone, or on your IPad, IPod, Mac, MacBook, or Android tablet – get spending now!

You can download the Deals Hub on your Windows 10 Mobile phone here:

Deals Hub – Windows Apps on Microsoft Store

Peaceful Bare-chested Outing in Pittsburgh

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Last week I opened my email to find a message from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police legal department confirming, after three months of conversation, that public female bare-chestedness is legal in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Here’s what they wrote:

CONCLUSION There is no City or State law which expressly prohibits or even addresses the act of appearing bare-breasted in public. Based upon the information provided to the Law Department, the City does not appear to have any legal grounds under the City Code or Title 18 (i.e. the Commonwealth’s Crimes Code) to cite or arrest women for being bare-chested without any additional sexual or criminal behavior associated therewith. The City is preempted from regulating criminal conduct on its own so we only have state law with which to work.”

Read more at Breasts Are Healthy…

USC one of the four top seeds in Big Dance; North Carolina-Greensboro axes Wendy Palmer

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Big Dance is here and one school made a coaching change as Selection Monday was ongoing.

USC gets another 1 seed

The USC Gamecocks, led by the likes of Aja Wilson, Tiffany Mitchell and Bianca Cuevas, got its third number one seed in as many years under head coach (and celebrity Richland County Sheriff’s Officer) Dawn Staley.  Notre Dame, Baylor and Connecticut received the other top seeds, with the Huskies getting the overall top seed as the last undefeated school left in either men’s or women’s basketball.

Tennessee kept its streak of making every NCAA tournament alive, but the Volunteers got a seven seed, its lowest seed ever.  It’s previous low seed was five in 2009, when 12-seed Ball State pulled an upset so huge, it got then-Coach Pat Summitt angry – so angry as a matter of fact, Coach Summitt made those returning to her team for the 2009-10 season practice for almost 24 hours straight the day after the loss.

Georgia received an eight seed in the tournament.

Five big ACC schools – Clemson, Georgia Tech, Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State – all missed the tournament in the same season for the first time ever.  It’s the first time in 28 years that the three schools along the famed Tobacco Road – the Blue Devils, Tar Heels and Wolfpack – were snuffed out of the postseason in the same season.  The Tar Heels had its first losing season in many years, finishing a meager 14-18. Read the rest of this entry »

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