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June 13, 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

On the campaign trail in the USA, May 2016

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Monday, June 13, 2016

2016 United States presidential election
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The following is the first edition of a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2016 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: a former Republican congressman briefly joins the Libertarian Party and runs for vice president; the Democratic Party names its National Convention Platform Drafting Committee amid controversy; and Wikinews interviews a candidate who had a surprisingly strong performance in the West Virginia Democratic presidential primary.

Summary

On the campaign trail in early May, the Republican Party primary race grew more contentious as it reached its final stages. On the same day as the May 3 Indiana primary, Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who held a sizable delegate lead over his two remaining primary challengers, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich, cited the National Enquirer to accuse Cruz’s father of involvement in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Cruz, whom Trump branded as “Lyin’ Ted,” attacked Trump as a “pathological liar” and “serial philanderer.” Trump won Indiana by a large margin, prompting the second place Cruz to end his campaign. Thereafter, both the media and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus christened Trump as the presumptive nominee, even though he had yet to secure the requisite number of National Convention delegates. The next day, Kasich finally suspended his candidacy. As Trump pivoted into general election mode, he faced a vocal Stop Trump movement within the party and a significant polling deficit against the Democrats. A national CNN/ORC poll showed Trump trailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton by double digits. Nevertheless, unlike the GOP, the outcome of the Democratic primary race remained undecided. Although Clinton maintained a significant delegate lead, a CNN poll showed her ahead of sole rival, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, by only eight points. In fact, Sanders won the Indiana Democratic primary, making nine victories out of the latest fourteen contests to that point.

Donald Trump with a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo.
Image: Donald J. Trump on Twitter.

Commencing his general election campaign, Trump announced he would participate in fundraising after self-funding his primary campaign. He named former presidential rival, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson to head a group to search for a running mate. And, in a show of pro-Hispanic sentiment, he tweeted a photo of himself with a taco bowl on Cinco de Mayo. Still, the Republican Party remained divided. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he would not commit to endorsing Trump. He called for Trump “to set aside bullying, […] belittlement, and appeal to higher aspirations.” Ryan’s comments drew criticism from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former 2016 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, among others. However, former candidates Lindsey Graham and Jeb Bush, as well as former Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, all said they could not support Trump’s candidacy. 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol both called for an independent presidential candidate to run as an alternative to Trump. Ryan called this “a disaster,” and sought unity by inviting Trump to a Republican congressional leadership meeting and offering to step down as chair of the GOP National Convention if Trump so desired. Despite the internal strife, Trump continued his focus on the general election, branding Clinton as “crooked Hillary,” and attacking her for “want[ing] to abolish the Second Amendment.” He also pivoted on policies, advocating for a rise in the federal minimum wage and taxes on the wealthy. The campaign announced that five or six names were on the vice presidential shortlist including former presidential candidate Chris Christie. Quinnipiac polls showed Trump leading or close behind Clinton in head-to-head match ups in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Clinton won the caucus in Guam and the campaign shifted to West Virginia and Nebraska. On the eve of the May 10 primaries, Cruz, still on the ballot in Nebraska, announced he might restart his campaign if he won the state. Instead, Trump won Nebraska by a wide margin and won West Virginia by an even wider margin. On the Democratic side, Sanders won West Virginia as voters turned on Clinton after she expressed unencouraging views about the coal industry. ABC News exit polling there revealed nearly half of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump if Clinton won the nomination.

Vice President Joe Biden, who had been expected to mount a 2016 campaign until he ruled it out in late 2015, admitted in an interview with ABC that he had planned to run for president in 2016 but the plans derailed upon the death of his son Beau. He revealed Senator Elizabeth Warren as his preferred running mate and endorsed her for the Democratic vice presidential nomination. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada cautioned Democrats against nominating a sitting Senator like Warren to avoid decreasing the number of Democrats in the Senate. Trump launched an assault on Warren, referring to her as “goofy” and Pocahontas for a previous claim of Amerindian ancestry. On May 12, Trump had his much anticipated meeting with Ryan. Afterwards, the two issued a joint statement calling the meeting “a very positive step toward unification.” Ryan still withheld his endorsement though Trump asked Ryan to remain as chair of the National Convention. Polls from mid-May showed Trump edging closer to Clinton in national head-to-head match ups, as Trump faced a barrage of controversies. Both Clinton and Romney called on Trump to release his tax records. He said he might release them, but maintained it was “none of [the public’s] business.” Media reports also scrutinized Trump for allegedly acting as his own publicist in the early 1990’s. He denied the allegations outright. Next, The New York Times published an exposé about Trump’s treatment of women throughout the years. The validity of the story came into question when the lead interviewee claimed The Times had taken her account out of context. On May 17, Trump easily won the Oregon primary. The next day, for the first time in months, a Fox News poll showed him with a national lead over Clinton. That same day, he released a list of eleven judges whom he would consider nominating to the U.S. Supreme Court. He later received an endorsement from the National Rifle Association. In the Democratic race, Sanders won the Oregon primary and narrowly lost to Clinton in Kentucky. He was also able to add five of his supporters to the Democratic National Convention platform drafting committee, ensuring greater influence over the party platform. Clinton rejected a debate with him and announced there would be no further primary debates. Trump offered to debate Sanders, which Sanders accepted, though Trump later backed out. Clinton went on the offensive against Trump for his past business bankruptcies, saying he “could bankrupt America like he’s bankrupted his companies.” She won the Washington primary on May 24. However, the next day, an Inspector General report said she did not comply with State Department policy when she sent official e-mails on a private server while Secretary of State.

Following a victory in the Washington Republican primary, Trump traveled to New Mexico, where the sitting Republican governor Susana Martinez snubbed his event. Trump attacked Martinez during the rally, later asking, “If I have a Republican that’s not on my side, why should I be particularly nice to that person?” Shortly thereafter, during a speech in California, he renewed attacks against Romney, Cruz, Kristol, and Jeb Bush. Former rival Marco Rubio announced he would release the delegates he won during the primary to support Trump and said he would be willing to go on the campaign trail for Trump, if asked. Rubio also apologized to Trump for derogatory comments he made earlier in the campaign. Trump mathematically secured the Republican nomination, when an uncommitted slate of delegates in North Dakota committed to supporting him. Meanwhile, the Libertarian Party commenced its National Convention and nominated for president, on the second ballot, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee. Also on the second ballot, for vice president, the party nominated Johnson’s pre-selected running mate, former Massachusetts Governor William Weld, who had just left the Republican Party to become a Libertarian. Trump called Johnson a “fringe candidate.” Johnson was not the last such candidate introduced in late May. Seemingly ending his search for an alternative to Trump, Kristol tweeted that he had found an “impressive” independent candidate. Bloomberg reported the candidate was little-known writer David A. French of the National Review. On the final day of May, Trump held a press conference in which he revealed the veterans charities he donated to after raising $5.6 million during a fundraiser he held in January in lieu of attending a debate. Trump excoriated the national press for its coverage of his campaign and referred to one reporter as “sleaze.” With the June 7 California primary ahead, Clinton received the endorsement of California Governor Jerry Brown. The latest polls showed her with a two point advantage over Sanders in the state. In the Real Clear Politics average, she led Trump in the general election nationally by 1.5%.

Ex GOP congressman joins LP, seeks VP, then leaves

As soon as Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination, Libertarian Party (LP) membership applications doubled. Longtime Republican consultant Mary Matalin, former Massachusetts governor William Weld, and former Congressman Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, were among those who left the GOP in May to find a new home in the LP. While Matalin enthusiastically backed Libertarian presidential runner-up Austin Petersen, and Weld won the party’s vice presidential nomination; Bentivolio, who had endorsed Dr. Ben Carson for president before joining the party, had a much different experience.

Congressman Bentivolio
Image: United States Congress.

“It was suggested by a few supporters I run [for vice president] as a libertarian,” says Bentivolio, a teacher and veteran of the Vietnam and Iraq wars, who earned the moniker “the accidental Congressman” after his surprising 2012 election, “I briefly entertained the idea of running and spent time investigating the party.”

Bentivolio, 64, unexpectedly won the Republican nomination to represent Michigan’s 11th Congressional District in 2012, after the sitting Congressman, Thaddeus McCotter, a 2012 presidential candidate, was unable to run for re-election after his petitions to qualify for the primary ballot were deemed fraudulent. Upon his victory in the general election, Bentivolio went to Washington, joining the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He took an active role in introducing and sponsoring successful legislation, becoming, according to an historian of the House, one of the most effective freshmen Congressmen of recent times. GovTrack listed him as the most transparent Republican freshman in the 113th United States Congress. Nevertheless, during his single term, he frequently bucked the party leadership, voting against a resolution to the 2013 government shutdown, calling for the impeachment of President Barack Obama, and agreeing to seek congressional hearings over chemtrails. In 2014, Bentivolio lost his seat to attorney Dave Trott, a primary opponent with a fundraising edge and the backing of the Republican establishment. After leaving Congress, Bentivolio suffered financial difficulties and had to file for bankruptcy in 2015, partly the result of his expensive primary campaign against Trott.

When Bentivolio joined the LP in May, he filed a Form 2 with the Federal Election Commission to run for vice president. Libertarian national chairman Nicholas Sarwark encouraged Bentivolio to run for his old congressional seat in addition to vice president. This was not well received by the local Libertarian Party, which feared such a run would violate Michigan’s sore-loser law; the same law that prevented Gary Johnson from appearing on the ballot in 2012. As a consequence, the local party nominated another candidate to run for the seat.

“The district delegates [five in total] voted for another as the House candidate”, recounts Bentivolio, “[the candidate’s] wife was the deciding vote.”

Afterwards, Bentivolio expressed doubt about the party platform, saying it amounted to “judicial supremacy,” which he rejects, referencing the 1857 Dred Scott case, which affirmed the rights of slaveholders. He added, “I am 100% pro-life and an abolitionist and many in the Libertarian Party are pro-choice and support slavery in their immigration policy.” He cited these as his reasons for ending his vice presidential campaign.

After Gary Johnson and William Weld won the party’s presidential and vice presidential nominations at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention, Bentivolio offered his perspective on Johnson and Weld. Though he considered Johnson, “a nice guy and honest,” he felt Johnson “thinks government has all the answers.” In contrast, Bentivolio said he personally believes “government is the problem” and only supports “a government within the strict limitations clearly expressed in the Constitution.” He described Weld, a Council on Foreign Relations member who proposed strict gun control measures as governor, as someone who “supports big government.”

Bentivolio has left the LP and now is an independent. He remains undecided on whether to support Donald Trump for president. To help him decide, he is currently researching claims of a woman named “Katie Johnson” who filed a lawsuit accusing Trump of rape. Trump’s attorneys dismiss the suit as a hoax.

DNC aims for unity with Platform Drafting Committee picks; controversy ensues

Every four years, the Democratic Party holds its National Convention, nominating a presidential ticket and conducting official business. One important item is the drafting of a party platform to express the party’s principles and vision for the future. A special committee is formed to draft the document. In May, fifteen individuals were named to the committee. Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz selected four of the members while the two presidential candidates picked the remaining eleven in proportion to the votes each candidate received in the primaries. Hillary Clinton, the party’s presidential front-runner, selected six. Bernie Sanders chose five, though the DNC rejected one of his original picks, a union leader, leading to charges of anti-union bias in the DNC. Still, upon the release of the names, The Nation magazine argued Sanders’ input provided the committee with a “progressive majority.” Wikinews was able to reach out to one of Sanders’ picks to see what he planned for the platform.

McKibben in 2008.
Image: Hotshot977.

For the committee, Wasserman Schultz tapped Congressman Elijah Cummings, who is to serve as the head; Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the only returning member from 2012; former Congressman Howard Berman; and Bonnie Schaefer, former Chief Executive Officer of Claire’s. Clinton selected Ambassador Wendy Sherman; Neera Tanden, head of the Center for American Progress; Ohio Representative Alicia Reece; Carol Browner, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Congressman Luis Gutiérrez; and union leader Paul Booth. Sanders picked Dr. Cornel West; Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the US Congress; James Zogby, head of the Arab American Institute; Deborah Parker, a Native American activist; and Bill McKibben, a renowned environmentalist.

Sanders speaks at a May 18 rally in Vallejo, California.
Image: Shelly Prevost.

McKibben, a Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College who co-founded the climate change awareness organization 350.org, tells Wikinews that his Vermont roots may explain why Sanders selected him for the committee. However, McKibben has worked with Sanders previously on climate and energy issues, and The Boston Globe has described him as “probably the nation’s leading environmentalist.”

“I’d like to see [the platform] reflect the fact that since the last election the planet’s climate has deteriorated dramatically, with record temperatures, melting ice, and dying coral”, says McKibben, “So that means we need to move more aggressively, both to cut our reliance on fossil fuels and to boost renewable energy.”

McKibben is not the only member who prioritizes environmental issues. Browner, who headed the EPA during the entire presidency of Bill Clinton, has worked under President Obama as the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy. While the environment is given a strong emphasis, Sanders has raised the point that labor representation on the committee is lacking.

In 2012, union leaders Donna Harris-Aikens of the National Education Association and Thea Lee of the AFL-CIO were on the committee. This year, the only union leader is Booth of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Sanders attempted to include National Nurses United executive director RoseAnn DeMoro, but Wasserman Schultz vetoed the pick. Sanders, in a press conference, accused the DNC of “not want[ing] representatives of labor unions on the platform drafting committee.” The DNC rejected the charge.

“We worked carefully with both campaigns to ensure overall balance and representation,” says DNC spokeswoman April Mellody, “[we] have 100% confidence that the views of our allies in the Labor community will be well represented in our Party’s platform as they have always been.”

Amid the division, McKibben expresses hope that though the platform is often “forgotten not long after it’s written,” perhaps the 2016 platform “will play a role in uniting the party.”

The committee is set to convene at the 2016 Democratic National Convention July 25–28 in Philadelphia.

DNC Platform Drafting Committee


Interview with overachieving West Virginia Democratic protest candidate

In the May 10 West Virginia Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton 51.4 percent to 35.8 percent. Of the remaining 13 percent, nearly nine went to little-known protest candidate Paul T. Farrell Jr., a Huntington, West Virginia attorney who entered the race to challenge President Obama’s energy policies. Wikinews reached out to Farrell to ask a few questions about the campaign.

Results by county for Paul T. Farrell Jr.

██  5%

██ 5–10%

██ 10–15%

██ 15–20%

██  20%

Image: MB298.

During the campaign, Farrell did not hold any fundraisers and his only spending was the $2,500 filing fee to appear on the ballot. He believes Obama’s policies, which Clinton supports, have hurt the coal industry, a major sector of West Virginia’s economy. Many West Virginians, even Democrats, share this view. While mining still makes up 17 percent of West Virginia’s gross domestic product (compared to 3 percent nationally), since 2009, coal production has declined around 45 percent in the south part of the state. 332 mines have closed and almost 10,000 jobs or 35 percent of those in the industry, have been lost. West Virginia’s unemployment is the worst in the nation. According to ABC News exit polls from the primary, only 26 percent of West Virginia Democrats want to continue Obama’s policies.

Although registered Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 577,000 to 378,000 in West Virginia, Republican presidential candidates have won the state in every election since 2000. ABC exit polls indicate a third of Democrats plan to vote in November for Trump, who has campaigned in favor of the coal industry. Trump is popular in West Virginia, having won 77 percent in the state’s GOP primary. He holds a 27 point lead over Clinton in the latest Public Policy Polling head-to-head match up.

West Virginia Democrats have a history of going against the national party establishment. Notably, prison inmate Keith Russell Judd won 41 percent in the 2012 primary against Obama, who was seeking re-election. Judd was on the ballot again in 2016, but received only 1.8 percent of the vote. Judd’s 2012 performance was one of the reasons Farrell cited for entered the race. In addition, he told the Charleston Gazette–Mail back in January that the candidates running did not share “West Virginia values.” He had hoped to secure some national convention delegates but just fell short. He was able to come in second place in the coal-rich Mingo County, where he outpaced Clinton 23.7 percent to 21.4 percent.

With Wikinews, Farrell discusses, his specific problem with Obama’s energy policy, what he is looking for in a presidential candidate, and his views on Trump.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png How were you able to get over 8% of the vote in the West Virginia Democratic Primary?

Farrell: The 2016 Democratic nominees for President of the United States support President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan executive order which we disparagingly refer to as the “war on coal.” West Virginia voters take exception to abruptly bankrupting our economy without a comprehensive plan to rebuild our infrastructure. The presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, lost all 55 counties in West Virginia. Voters did not cast a ballot for me; they cast a ballot for the candidate with “WV” listed after his name in protest to Mrs. Clinton’s energy policy.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png Do you plan on supporting the Democratic presidential nominee come November?

Farrell: No. I will support the candidate that adopts a platform that rebuilds our economy which President Obama dismantled and pledges to pass legislation during his/her first “100 days.”

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump?

Farrell: Mrs. Clinton made the campaign promise to put “coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Mr. Trump says he will fight for West Virginia. Even if Mr. Trump is full of shit, I choose to fight rather than surrender. Most of the southern coal fields of West Virginia stand with me.



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December 6, 2012

Sandra Fluke gives keynote speech at Nebraska women\’s health event

Sandra Fluke gives keynote speech at Nebraska women’s health event

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Women’s rights
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Women's rights
More information on Women’s rights at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
  • Women’s rights
  • Women’s health
  • Female education
  • Feminism portal

Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke was the keynote speaker at a women’s health event Tuesday night in Nebraska.

Sandra Fluke (2012)
Image: nmogburn.

Fluke was the headliner in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Rococo Theatre for the annual fundraiser of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, titled: “The Big Event: Courage — No Matter What”. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her fiancé and “Mr. President”, their pet dog. After graduating cum laude with her J.D. degree this past May, Fluke successfully took and passed the bar exam in July and is now an attorney.

Cquote1.svg It’s uplifting and heartening to see how many people really care about the issues I’m talking about. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star, Fluke reflected on her role as a public figure and her ability to contribute to the contribute to the discourse about women’s rights, “It’s uplifting and heartening to see how many people really care about the issues I’m talking about.” Fluke observed, “I think it’s also allowed me to give a voice and shine a light on the work that a lot of people are doing.”

Fluke’s speech centered on women’s rights, women’s healthcare, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She stressed the importance of women’s issues in the recent election for U.S. President: “This year, something changed in our national conversation about women’s health…. Before my time, women’s healthcare has never decided a presidential election. We really did make a difference this election.” She spurred on attendees of the event to become more active in supporting women’s rights: “It’s time for young women in this country to join the fight, because it’s our rights and our health that are at stake.”

Cquote1.svg She’s a voice of reason. I think she has raised the bar for rational conversation about a serious issue. Cquote2.svg

—Tari Hendrickson

Planned Parenthood regional development and planned gifts director Tari Hendrickson told the Lincoln Journal Star Sandra Fluke was her top choice for keynote speaker at the event: “Sandra was No. 1 on my list; I never had a No. 2. She’s a voice of reason. I think she has raised the bar for rational conversation about a serious issue.”

Cquote1.svg She is a wonderfully outspoken person on the affordable care act, women’s health and women’s rights. Cquote2.svg

—Susan Allen

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Planned Nebraska communications manager Susan Allen told the Daily Nebraskan Sandra Fluke was the ideal person to serve as keynote speaker: “She is a wonderfully outspoken person on the affordable care act, women’s health and women’s rights. We decided she would be the perfect person to speak to Planned Parenthood supporters.”

Planned Parenthood intern and University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Emily Schiltz commented on landing Fluke as the keynote speaker, “She is definitely the biggest person we’ve had in a long time.”

“I feel like she walks the walk rather than talk the talk,” said Planned Parenthood intern and journalism student Audrey Nance.

Fluke indicated her intention was to persevere in speaking about issues she thinks important: “I think my ultimate goal is giving a voice to people who don’t always have one.”

She has been named as a candidate by Time magazine in a November 26 announcement, for their Person of the Year. Time concluded Fluke helped give U.S. President Barack Obama an edge in his presidential re-election campaign.

Fluke was a featured speaker on September 5 at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fluke spoke to attendees at the convention about the consequences for women of electing Republican candidate for U.S. President, Mitt Romney, over incumbent President Barack Obama. Fluke has campaigned with President Obama in his bid for re-election.

She was recognized April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee at a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crack down on human trafficking and domestic violence.



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  • Wikisource-logo.svg Author:Sandra Kay Fluke
  • Commons-logo.svg Sandra Fluke
  • Wikiquote-logo.svg Sandra Fluke

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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

December 5, 2012

Sandra Fluke keynote speaker at women\’s health event in Nebraska

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Women’s rights
Related stories

Women's rights
More information on Women’s rights at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
  • Women’s rights
  • Women’s health
  • Female education
  • Feminism portal

Women’s rights advocate and Georgetown University Law Center graduate Sandra Fluke was the keynote speaker at a women’s health event Tuesday night in Nebraska.

Sandra Fluke (2012)
Image: nmogburn.

Fluke was the headliner in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Rococo Theatre for the annual fundraiser of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, titled: “The Big Event: Courage — No Matter What”. She currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her fiancé and “Mr. President”, their pet dog. After graduating cum laude with her J.D. degree this past May, Fluke successfully took and passed the bar exam in July and is now an attorney.

Cquote1.svg It’s uplifting and heartening to see how many people really care about the issues I’m talking about. Cquote2.svg

—Sandra Fluke

In an interview with the Lincoln Journal Star, Fluke reflected on her role as a public figure and her ability to contribute to the contribute to the discourse about women’s rights, “It’s uplifting and heartening to see how many people really care about the issues I’m talking about.” Fluke observed, “I think it’s also allowed me to give a voice and shine a light on the work that a lot of people are doing.”

Fluke’s speech centered on women’s rights, women’s healthcare, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She stressed the importance of women’s issues in the recent election for U.S. President: “This year, something changed in our national conversation about women’s health…. Before my time, women’s healthcare has never decided a presidential election. We really did make a difference this election.” She spurred on attendees of the event to become more active in supporting women’s rights: “It’s time for young women in this country to join the fight, because it’s our rights and our health that are at stake.”

Cquote1.svg She’s a voice of reason. I think she has raised the bar for rational conversation about a serious issue. Cquote2.svg

—Tari Hendrickson

Planned Parenthood regional development and planned gifts director Tari Hendrickson told the Lincoln Journal Star Sandra Fluke was her top choice for keynote speaker at the event: “Sandra was No. 1 on my list; I never had a No. 2. She’s a voice of reason. I think she has raised the bar for rational conversation about a serious issue.”

Cquote1.svg She is a wonderfully outspoken person on the affordable care act, women’s health and women’s rights. Cquote2.svg

—Susan Allen

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Planned Nebraska communications manager Susan Allen told the Daily Nebraskan Sandra Fluke was the ideal person to serve as keynote speaker: “She is a wonderfully outspoken person on the affordable care act, women’s health and women’s rights. We decided she would be the perfect person to speak to Planned Parenthood supporters.”

Planned Parenthood intern and University of Nebraska-Lincoln student Emily Schiltz commented on landing Fluke as the keynote speaker, “She is definitely the biggest person we’ve had in a long time.”

“I feel like she walks the walk rather than talk the talk,” said Planned Parenthood intern and journalism student Audrey Nance.

Fluke indicated her intention was to persevere in speaking about issues she thinks important: “I think my ultimate goal is giving a voice to people who don’t always have one.”

She has been named as a candidate by Time magazine in a November 26 announcement, for their Person of the Year. Time concluded Fluke helped give U.S. President Barack Obama an edge in his presidential re-election campaign.

Fluke was a featured speaker on September 5 at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Fluke spoke to attendees at the convention about the consequences for women of electing Republican candidate for U.S. President, Mitt Romney, over incumbent President Barack Obama. Fluke has campaigned with President Obama in his bid for re-election.

She was recognized April 22 with the Stand Up for Choice Award. Fluke was given the Stand Up for Choice Award at the “Third Annual Multi-Generational Brunch” of the organization NARAL Pro-Choice America which was held in New York City (NYC), New York in the United States.

Fluke received a nomination in March as a candidate for Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. The list is released annually as a special edition of Time magazine, titled Time 100.

She gave testimony to the US Congress on February 23 before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee at a hearing about women’s health and contraception. She also worked for Sanctuary for Families in NYC which worked to crack down on human trafficking and domestic violence.



Related news

Sister links

  • Wikisource-logo.svg Author:Sandra Kay Fluke
  • Commons-logo.svg Sandra Fluke
  • Wikiquote-logo.svg Sandra Fluke

Sources

This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

June 16, 2010

Warren Buffett to host world\’s most expensive lunch

Warren Buffett to host world’s most expensive lunch

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

File photo of billionaire Warren Buffett.
Image: Mark Hirschey.

Billionaire Warren Buffett, Chief Executive of Berkshire Hathaway, auctioned lunch with himself on eBay for US$2.63 million.

Bidding, which started on eBay a few weeks ago, attracted nine bidders, offering huge sums for the opportunity to have a steak lunch with the man said to be a “legendary investor”.

HAVE YOUR SAY
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If you had the money, would you pay millions for lunch with Buffet?
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The winning bidder, an anonymous individual, will be parting with $2.63 million for a meal with the world-famed investor and has the opportunity to bring along seven friends for the meal.

This, the latest of Buffett’s charity auctions, is providing funds to the Glide Foundation, a charity that provides food, health care, housing and job training for ‘s homeless.

Over the last ten years, Buffett has netted $5.9 million in donations through such auctions.



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December 20, 2009

Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US

Democratic holdout agrees to support health care reform in US

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Official photo portrait of Ben Nelson, Democratic Senator from Nebraska

A conservative Democratic United States senator has agreed to supply the key 60th vote needed for passage of a sweeping health care reform package. Senate Democrats have reached a breakthrough in their struggle to pass sweeping heath care reform legislation, lining up the 60 votes needed to overcome fierce Republican opposition. Senators met Saturday in Washington, D.C. during a driving snowstorm in a frenzied effort to move forward on President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

The spotlight was on moderate Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who had been the last holdout as Senate Democrats raced against the clock and against determined Republican opposition to pass their health care bill by their self-imposed deadline of December 25th, Christmas.

Cquote1.svg Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform. Cquote2.svg

—Ben Nelson, Democratic Senator for Nebraska

Nelson said he is now ready to vote for cloture, which would advance the bill. “Change is never easy, but change is what is necessary in America today and and that is why I intend to vote for cloture, I intend to vote for cloture and for health care reform,” he said.

Nelson said he decided to support the bill after winning new concessions from Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to limit the availability of abortions in insurance sold under the new legislation along with millions of dollars in Medicaid funding for Nebraska.

The legislation would extend health benefits to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and impose new regulations on the health insurance industry.

Senator Reid of Nevada has been working for months to win over one holdout Democratic senator after another, repeatedly altering the bill to satisfy different demands. Reid says reform is essential. “The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose,” he said.

Cquote1.svg The broken system cannot continue and it will not continue. When President Obama signs this bill into law, we will officially end the era in which insurance companies win only when patients lose. Cquote2.svg

—Harry Reid, Democratic Senate Majority Leader

Nelson’s support should pave the way for Senate Democrats to win the first of a series of crucial procedural votes scheduled to begin at one o’clock in the morning on Monday and set to conclude — if everything goes smoothly for them — with final passage on Christmas Eve.

Republicans have been using a number of parliamentary procedures to delay action on the bill, including forcing a reading on the Senate floor Saturday of Reid’s 338-pages of last minute amendments. Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky responded to the apparent Democratic breakthrough. “And Democrats are forcing a vote on it, as I indicated, over the weekend, counting on the fact that the American people are preoccupied with Christmas and not paying much attention to what they are doing,” he said.

Cquote1.svg The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people. Cquote2.svg

—Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Minority Leader

Republicans are unified in their opposition, saying the bill is too expensive and will not solve the problems with the current health care system. Senator McConnell dismissed claims by Democrats that the bill is historic. “The history that is being made here, make no mistake about it, the history that is being made here, is the ignoring of the will of the American people,” he said.

Senator John McCain of Arizona echoed those comments in the weekly Republican radio address saying, “Regrettably, there’s nothing in this legislation that effectively addresses the problem of health care hyperinflation. In fact, experts tell us the Democrat legislation makes matters worse.”

Democrats say they have been trying to reform the nation’s health care system for close to 70 years, ever since President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in office. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut was emotional as victory seemed within reach. “All we are trying to do is to guarantee that if you are a fellow citizen of ours, and you are struck with illness or a loved one is, that you will never again have that fear, that you will end up losing your home, your job, your retirement and your life savings because you have been afflicted with an illness through no fault of your own.”

If the Senate is able to pass a bill next week, it would be viewed as a major victory for President Obama. But the bill would still need to be reconciled with a health-care reform bill passed last month by the House of Representatives before the president could sign it into law next year.



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July 1, 2009

Heat wave proves deadly for Nebraska cattle

Heat wave proves deadly for Nebraska cattle

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

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Over 2,000 cattle died throughout eight counties in Nebraska last week as a result of an unexpected heat wave. Officials estimate that number could grow as other counties report in.

According to Tim Reimer of the United States Farm Service Agency, cattle nearing slaughter are difficult to keep cool due to their large size, and thus more vulnerable to heat. The animals are provided large quantities of water, but they sometimes stop drinking under the effects of the high temperatures.

The deaths worsened the situation for farmers, who were already struggling with high feed costs. “There were some that took some pretty substantial hits financially”, Reimer said.

Temperatures in eastern portions of the state soared into the mid 90s. The heat wave was preceded by an unusually cool spring, so the animals didn’t have a chance to acclimatise. Terry Mader, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, reported that “Cattle, as well as other animals and humans, usually need two to four weeks to adapt to the changes in environmental conditions we observed last week. Sunny days with temperatures above the mid-80s can be stressful, particularly if there is no wind and humidity is above 50%.”

Similar heat waves occurred during the 1990s, when thousands of cattle were lost. Mader noted, “There’s no opportunity for them to get prepared […] Normally, you’ll have one to two days in a heat wave to get prepared.”

Mature cattle are generally worth US$1,000 apiece.



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April 1, 2009

FDA warning on pistachios after salmonella contamination

FDA warning on pistachios after salmonella contamination

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

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Pistachio(Pistacia vera L., Anacardiaceae or sometimes Pistaciaceae’)
Image: marcodisce.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall on Salmonella contaminated Pistachios for 31 states in the United States.

“Our advice to consumers is that they avoid eating pistachio products, that they hold onto those products, that at this stage they don’t throw them out, they simply hold on to them as we’re learning more about them to determine if they’re part of the recall,” said Dr. David Acheson, associated FDA commissioner for food. However, it is expected that the recalled list may grow as the investigation continues.

Kroger Co. is recalling shelled pistachios called Private Selection Shelled Pistachios in a 10-ounce container with UPC code 111073615 and the sell dates of December 13 or 14 on the packages. Setton Farms based in California, the pistachio supplier, is voluntarily recalling their pistachios.

Products containing pistachios have not yet been recalled, but are under investigation. The salmonella contamination was discovered by Kraft foods during routine testing last Tuesday, before any illness were reported. They notified the FDA and the FDA notified Setton Farms. So far the source of contamination has not been revealed.

The 31 states initially affected are: (in alphabetical order) : Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Signs of salmonella include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Those most vulnerable are the young, the elderly or those with an already compromised health condition.

This recall follows the long list of recalled peanut related products, peanut butter and candy bars which caused a salmonella outbreak at the end of January.



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January 30, 2009

Nebraska senators may not support stimulus plan

Nebraska senators may not support stimulus plan

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Friday, January 30, 2009

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United States Senator Ben Nelson, Nebraska.
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The two federal senators of Nebraska are not sure if they will be backing President Barack Obama’s $819 billion dollar stimulus plan, in spite of approval of the bill given by the House of Representatives on Wednesday. The bill will support Nebraska with around $378 million to help the state budget for the next two years, and will also give the state an extra $230 million to be spent on infrastructure construction and repair.

Nebraskan Sen. Ben Nelson (Democrat) said allotting $1.1 billion for medical research was troublesome. Nelson wants to see more jobs created for Nebraskans, and believes the bill is not truly stimulus, but rather constitutes additional spending. Republican Sen. Mike Johanns agreed mostly with Nelson, but also pointed out the stimulus money for the National Endowment for the Arts as a form of job creation.

Nelson stated that Nebraska will receive around $250 million dollars for highway construction from the stimulus plan, with no need for the state to match the funding. Around 27 billion dollars in highway funds are found in stimulus appropriations, which Nelson said he supported as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The package is also said to set aside money to help build hospitals in rural areas, as well as community health centers. Money for the construction and repair of veterans medical facilities, and funding to help drinking and wastewater infrastructure are also included.

Sen. Johanns commented that he thinks none of it will be paid for, but instead will be funded by floating debt.

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December 3, 2008

Car accident was an act of God, says driver

Filed under: Crime and law,Nebraska,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Car accident was an act of God, says driver

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

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A man from San Antonio, Texas in the United States, is being charged with assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault after he ran a woman off the road. The driver who caused the accident told police that God told him to do it.

Police say that Michael E. Schwab claimed that while he was driving on U.S. Highway 281 in Texas, God told him to run the unnamed woman off the road because she “wasn’t driving right” and “needed to be taken off the road.” He slammed into her car at over 100 miles per hour, spinning both vehicles into the median.

“God must have been with them, ’cause any other time, the severity of this crash, it would have been a fatal,” said Kyle Coleman, a spokesman for the Bexar County sheriff’s department.

Police say that Schwab was not drunk, and they found no illegal drugs inside his car. He is expected to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Neither of the individuals suffered serious injuries.

God has faced scrutiny in the past, including a recent lawsuit that was thrown out of court. A judge in Nebraska, USA had dismissed a lawsuit in October that was filed against the higher power. In 2007, Nebraska state Senator Ernie Chambers, who represents legislative District 11 in North Omaha, filed the lawsuit alleging God was responsible for “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants.”



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October 17, 2008

Judge in Nebraska says thou shalt not sue God

Judge in Nebraska says thou shalt not sue God

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo, face detail of God.

A judge in Nebraska has dismissed a lawsuit that was filed against ‘God’ saying that no address can be located to serve the higher power the court papers.

“Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant this action will be dismissed with prejudice,” said Judge Marlon Polk.

Senator Chambers.
Image: State of Nebraska.

In 2007, Nebraska state Senator Ernie Chambers, who represents legislative District 11 in North Omaha, filed the lawsuit on Friday September 18. According to court documents obtained by Wikinews, Chambers had decided to sue God, looking for a judge to issue a “permanent injunction” against the highest power.

Chambers said in his suit that God has spread fear across the globe causing “widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth’s inhabitants. [God also caused] fearsome floods, horrendous hurricanes, earthquakes, plagues, famine, genocidal wars, birth defects, terrifying tornadoes and the like”, and he wants the courts to order God “to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats.”

Chambers is examining Polk’s ruling and has not yet decided if he will file an appeal. Chambers says that “God knows everything”, and therefore is well aware of the lawsuit that was filed against the higher power. Chambers also states that the court acknowledged his existence which “is a recognition of God’s omniscience.”

“The court itself acknowledges the existence of God. Since God knows everything, God has notice of this lawsuit,” said Chambers.

If Chambers decides to appeal the decision, he must do so within 30 days of the Judge’s ruling.

The suit was an apparent retaliation for a 2007 ruling where the words ‘rape’ and ‘victim’ were banned from a criminal case involving a sexual assault incident. The woman who was assaulted, Tory Bowen, filed a lawsuit against Jeffrey Cheuvront, a district judge in the city of Lancaster when he banned the use of those words in her criminal case. Chambers says that her lawsuit is “frivolous” and he filed his suit to show people that “anybody can sue anybody.”

“This lawsuit having been filed and being of such questionable merit creates a circumstance where my lawsuit is appropriately filed. People might call it frivolous but if they read it they’ll see there are very serious issues I have raised,” stated Chambers in 2007.



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