TheÂ HoustonÂ city council this evening passed an historic non-discrimination ordinance that bansÂ discrimination on the basis of â€œsex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy.â€ Houston, a city of more than 2.1 million people and Americaâ€™s fourth-largest, had been the only major U.S. city without a non-discrimination ordinance. The vote was 11-6.
City council members, led by MayorÂ Annise ParkerÂ (above),Â heard testimony from over 200 citizens supporting and opposed to the legislation, for more than tenÂ hours. The vast majority who testified today were in support of the ordinance.
Opponents, mostly religious, like Pastor Ed Young, earlier hadÂ claimedÂ the ordinance â€œdiscriminates against people, like you and me, who want to live by our own personal convictions.â€
One woman (image, left) who testified today identified herself as a â€œlife-long Houstonianâ€ claimed that â€œChina will become the most populous Christian nation in the worldâ€ in part because of the religious oppression sheÂ attributed to equality legislation in America. Waving the Bible and lambasting Mayor Parker for placing her â€œhand on the book on the day [she] took the oath of office,â€ she refused to stop speaking when her 60-seconds expired and disrupted the hearing.
One man who supported the legislation described the scene at the Houston airport when he returned home from a trip and gave his partner a simple kiss. A man from across the airport yelled â€œfaggotâ€ at him, and hundreds of people heard, he said.
Two weeks ago the vote on the ordinance was tabled. At that point, Mayor Parker, who is openly-gay, lamented the â€œdebate is about me,â€ despite the ordinance protecting a wide range of people.
TheÂ Houston ChronicleÂ this weekÂ reportedÂ that â€œParkerâ€™s recent comments undercut that comprehensive message, however, as she sought to remind council members the issue is â€˜intensely personal.â€™â€
â€œItâ€™s not academic. It is my life that is being discussed,â€ said Parker, who faced death threats and had her tires slashed as a gay activist in the 1980s. â€œAnd while we can say around this council chamber that it applies to the range of protected groups â€“ and it does and it is right and appropriate that the city of Houston finally acknowledges a local ordinance that respects African-Americans and Hispanics and those of different religions â€“ the debate is about me. The debate is about two gay men at this table.â€
Parker added to her comments after the meeting, saying she understands how â€œincredibly painfulâ€ it is for gay residents to hear opponents say, â€œI donâ€™t hate gay people, I donâ€™t hate transgender people, I just ought to have the right not to let them come into my business.â€
Here are some responses to todayâ€™s debate and vote:
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82-Year-Old Black Woman Arrested and Handcuffed by Alabama Police Over $77 Unpaid Trash Bill
Martha Menefield, an 82-year-old Black woman in Valley, Alabama, had police officers show up to her home on Sunday and arrest her for failing to pay a $77 trash bill, CBS42 reports.
Menefield told CBS42 that she thought the bill had already been paid, “but they said it hadn’t.”
“And the cuffs,” she said, her eyes swelling with tears. “They’re so heavy.”
When the officer told her not to cry, Menefield asked him, “How would you feel if they came and arrested your grandmama?”
“I’m just happy my grandkids weren’t here to see that,” Menefield said, her voice shaking. “That would have upset them. I was so ashamed. And it’s been bothering me.”
In a post on the city’s social media account, Valley’s police chief defended the arrest.
“City of Valley Code Enforcement Officers issued Ms. Menefield a citation in August of 2022 for non-payment for trash services for the months of June, July, and August,” Chief Mike Reynolds’ statement said. “Prior to issuing the citation, Code Enforcement tried to call Ms. Menefield several times and attempted to contact her in person at her residence. When contact could not be made, a door hanger was left at her residence. The hanger contained information on the reason for the visit and a name and contact phone number for her to call. The citation advised Ms. Menefield that she was to appear in court on September 7, 2022, in reference to this case. A warrant for Failure to Pay-Trash was issued when she did not appear in court.”
Since the arrest, Menefield has been thinking about the role of God in her life.
“I’ve been questioning God a little bit,” she said. “I guess cause I’ve been so upset. I had a daycare here for eight years, and I’ve been asking the Lord. I say ‘Why did this happen to me as much as I’ve done for people, Lord? I’ve paid my tithes every Sunday. I ushered at church. I was just questioning. Something’s just not right.”
Read the full report over at CBS42.
‘Another Happy Jobs Day’: Economists Thrilled With ‘Amazing’ Report as Jobs Growth Beats Expectations, Wages Increase
The Biden economy added a whopping 263,000 jobs last month, crushing expectations of 200,000, and wages are growing as well, leading one economist to declare “another happy jobs day.”
The U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) adds that unemployment remains at a near-historic low of 3.7% in November, “and has been in a narrow range of 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent since March.”
University of Michigan School of Economics Professor Justin Wolfers exclaimed, “It’s yet ANOTHER happy jobs day. Payrolls rose +263k, well above expectations.”
“This expansion just keeps on rolling on,” added Wolfers, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.
Wolfers also takes on those who have been falsely pushing “recession” talking points.
“BTW, remember all that recession talk? It was nonsense. Bollocks. Cow dung,” he tweets. “There never was a recession. And the economy sure doesn’t look like it’s in one now. Job growth at this rate is the economy singing: ‘This is a robust expansion.'”
And he also slams the doom and gloom forecasters.
The flip from “Recession!” to “Overheating!” is just about the perfect example of the bad news bias in most economic commentary.
Look folks, if the economists you talk to are always gloomy, they’re only giving you half the story.https://t.co/mcD76jthvN
— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) December 2, 2022
Economist David Rothschild sums up where the Biden economy is compared to the rest of the world.
“Economy is far from perfect,” he writes, “but conditional on the worldwide pandemic and supply chain issues generated from pandemic: US economy has done *amazing* over last 2 years.”
In news alerts The New York Times reported hiring “continued to exceed expectations,” The Wall Street Journal called it “a sign of continued strength in the labor market,” and even Fox News reported it as “stronger-than-expected.” CNN referred to the jobs report as “robust” and “defying expectations.”
“America’s jobs engine kept churning in November, the Labor Department reported Friday, a show of continued demand for workers despite the Federal Reserve’s push to curb inflation by tamping down hiring, The Times reported. “The labor market has been surprisingly resilient in the face of successive interest rate increases by the Fed over the past year. Even sectors normally sensitive to borrowing costs, like construction and manufacturing, have been slow to back off the brisk pace of growth they posted coming out of the pandemic.”
The BLS also broke down unemployment numbers by demographics.
“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.4 percent), adult women (3.3 percent), teenagers (11.3 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.7 percent), Asians (2.7 percent), and Hispanics (3.9 percent) showed little or no change over the month.”
Image: Matt Smith Photographer / Shutterstock
‘The Law Is Clear’: Appeals Court Rules Trump Handpicked Judge Should Never Have Appointed Special Master
A three-judge panel on the conservative 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against Donald Trump, and effectively against his hand-picked federal district court judge Aileen Cannon in the ex-president’s “special master” case.
The judges, all three conservatives, two of whom appointed to the bench by Trump himself, ruled that Judge Cannon should never have agreed to Trump’s request to appoint a “special master” to review all the items the Dept. of Justice removed from his Mar-a-Lago residence by executing a legal search warrant.
Cannon had ordered the special master to specifically review approximately 100 classified documents, and blocked the DOJ from accessing them while they were under review. That block halted its investigation into Trump’s likely illegal retention of the documents and other items – over 10,000 – he removed from the White House and was string at Mar-a-Lago.
CNN calls Thursday’s ruling “a major defeat for former President Donald Trump.” The appeals court’s ruling halts “a third-party review of documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate,” and “removes a major obstacle to the Justice Department’s investigation into the mishandling of government records from Trump’s time in the White House.”
“The law is clear,” the judges wrote in their ruling Thursday, posted by NBC News’ Daniel Barnes. “We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so. Either approach would be a radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations.”
“And both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations,” they continued. “Accordingly, we agree with the government that the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction, and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required.”
They also wrote: “In considering these arguments, we are faced with a choice: apply our usual test; drastically expand the availability of equitable jurisdiction for every subject of a search warrant; or carve out an unprecedented exception in our law for former presidents. We choose the first option. So the case must be dismissed.”
“The district court,” meaning Judge Cannon, “improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction in this case. For that reason, we VACATE the September 5 order on appeal and REMAND with instructions for the district court to DISMISS the underlying civil action.”
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