Big wins for liberals in US elections

Tuesday’s vote in the US was about much more than the White House and Capitol Hill. Across the country Americans were called on to cast their ballot in a wide range of referendums – and the results indicat the US is far more liberal than many thought.

Maine and Maryland made history by becoming the first two states to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote – breaking a losing streak that has seen 30 states vote down such bills.

Gay weddings are already legal in six other states and Washington D.C., but that was down to legislators and the courts rather than the public.

The results follow recent polls showing for the first time the majority of Americans support marriage equality. And in Wisconsin, Democrat Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay woman to be elected to the Senate.

Baldwin’s sexuality barely featured in her campaign and after victory she said she had not run to make history but to make a difference.

Obama secured the majority of the female vote. But more and more women are doing it for themselves with the number of female senators rising to a historic 20 per cent. That is just slightly less than in France which has a similar system.

In another sign of change in the Senate, Tea Party-backed Republican Ted Cruz becomes the first Hispanic to represent Texas.

One name that has been a constant on Capitol Hill for the last half a century is Kennedy – at least until the death of JFK‘s youngest brother, Ted Kennedy in 2009. But the election of Joe Kennedy III – JFK’s great nephew – ends the hiatus.

He goes to the House of Representatives for
Massachusetts 4th District.

It has been an electoral marathon, to say the least. And for those who are finding it all just a bit too much, Washington State and Colorado became the first states to approve the recreational use of cannabis in a referendum.

Marijuana is already allowed for medicinal purposes in other parts of the country.

There is no doubt the 2008 presidential vote was historic – but it looks like quite a few taboos have been broken this time round too.

“Occupy” protesters interrupt Santorum

Rick Santorum on Monday said the Occupy movement represents “true intolerance” after a handful of protesters shouted through his entire event in Tacoma, Wash.

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The Future of the Progressive & Occupy Movements – AlterNet’s Sara Robinson

Sara Robinson, Senior Editor of AllterNet Visions, discusses the future of progressive goals.

Occupy DC…….. Nearing an End or Just a New Beginning?

As the noon deadline from the U.S. Park Police drew near, McPherson Square filled with Occupiers, supporters, reporters and bystanders for what was supposed to be a near final confrontation between police and occupiers over the enforcement of the no camping in the park regulation. But the police never showed, instead the demonstrators draped the statue of General James Birdseye McPherson, the only commander of a Union army to die in the field, with a huge blue tarp from the neck down, like a giant skirt attached at the bottom to the wrought Iron perimeter fence. Inside there was enough space to hold scores of smaller tents and open space where Occupiers celebrated. Bystanders, mostly from the surrounding downtown Washington office buildings, strolled through on their lunch break, and most expressing some degree of support.

Occupy Movement Steps Up Activism in Iowa with Pre-Caucus Focus on GOP Race

The Occupy movement is making its presence felt in Iowa ahead of the Iowa Caucus — the nation’s first nominating contest for the 2012 presidential elections. Demonstrators have targeted the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters and the “Obama for America” office in recent days, protesting measures being considered in Washington dealing with defense spending, a planned oil pipeline and jobless benefits. Next they plan to focus on Republicans who will be crisscrossing the state in the next two weeks seeking voters’ support. “We think that we have a right to — a constitutional right — to state our purpose and to call for, and to address grievances that we have with the government and the corporate control of the government,” says Hugh Espey, the executive director of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a 36-year-old grassroots organization with some 4,000 members. “These sorts of protest are going to continue until we have a system that puts people before profits and communities before corporations.”

Occupy the Highway! The latest news on Occupy Wall Street

The latest developments on the Occupy Wall Street‘s march from New York to the capitol building in Washington, D.C. in efforts of protesting the Super Committee’s failure to reach an agreement of cutting trillions of dollars toward the deficit.

American’s Be Fruitful and Occupy…. except if you host a show on NPR

(AP) WASHINGTON – A freelance radio host was fired from a documentary program that airs on NPR affiliates after she became a spokeswoman for a Washington protest because her producers believed she violated the public radio network’s code of ethics, the host said Thursday.

Lisa Simeone said she was fired the previous evening from “Soundprint,” a music documentary show that isn’t produced by NPR but is aired by its affiliates across the country. She said the head of Soundprint Media Center Inc., which produces the show, read NPR’s code of ethics to her before she was fired.

NPR also questioned Simeone’s involvement in the “Occupy D.C.” protest and said its ethics code applies to the shows it carries. But NPR said Simeone doesn’t work for the radio network, and it hadn’t pressured Soundprint to fire her.

Simeone also hosts “World of Opera,” a show produced by North Carolina-based music and arts station WDAV. That program is distributed by NPR. She said that station is supporting her so far.

Simeone told The Associated Press she is not a news reporter.

“I don’t cover news. In none of the shows that I do, do I cover the news,” she said. “What is NPR afraid I’ll do? Insert a seditious comment into a synopsis of `Madame Butterfly?”‘

Simeone, who lives in Baltimore, said she has been serving with about 50 people on a steering committee for an occupation protest on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. She said it is not connected to the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York, but they share similar philosophies.

NPR issued a statement on its website Wednesday saying it had learned Simeon was participating in an “Occupy D.C.” group but that she is not an NPR employee.

“We’re in conversations with WDAV about how they intend to handle this,” the statement read. “We of course take this issue very seriously.”

On Thursday, NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher said no one at the network has had contact with producers of “Soundprint” or pressured them to fire Simeone.

As for “World of Opera,” Christopher said the network’s code of ethics applies to cultural programs, as well as news, that the network produces, acquires or distributes.

“We are not her employer, but she is a host for a show that we distribute,” Christopher said. “She has that public presence.”

WDAV, a station based in Davidson, N.C., issued a statement saying it was working with NPR to find a solution for the show.

“WDAV and NPR have different missions,” WDAV spokeswoman Lisa Gray said in an emailed statement. “WDAV respects NPR’s mission to serve as a leading news provider. WDAV on the other hand, exists to serve as a leading provider of arts and cultural programming nationally and internationally.”

In the past year, NPR has come under scrutiny for its firing of news analyst Juan Williams after he said on Fox News that he was uncomfortable being on a plane with someone wearing clothing that identifies them as Muslim. At the time, NPR said Williams’s comments violated its code of ethics by participating in media “that encourage punditry and speculation rather than fact-based analysis.”

The network has been sensitive to accusations that it carries a liberal bias. An NPR CEO was forced to resign after conservative activist James O’Keefe posted a video portraying NPR’s chief fundraiser complaining about the tea party’s influence on the Republican Party.