laws of the land

The Affordable Care Act has been law of the land for years and it’s helped millions of folks — like the 55 million women who have access to no-copay birth control. But the law is under attack. This week’s Issue Time is led by two Planned Parenthood ACA experts who are here to answer your questions about everything from signing up, to fighting back against repeal:

Kaissa Denis, MPP is responsible for running the day to day operations of our ACA work at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Before she began her ACA work, she was a seasoned community organizer focused on organizing diaspora communities. 

Jamille Fields, JD/MPH is a Policy Analyst at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Her work is focused on ensuring health care reform improves reproductive health care access for low-income people, women, and young people across the country.

The Planned Parenthood ask box is open.

Send in your stories, questions, concerns — anything! We’ll start responding on Sunday, January 29th.


The move for California to #Calexit from the U.S. just cleared its first hurdle. Here’s what’s next.

  • On Thursday, California’s secretary of state gave the go-ahead to Yes California Independence Campaign to begin the process of collecting signatures necessary to get a secession initiative on the statewide 2018 ballot for a vote.
  • According to the Hill, the group needs to collect 585,407 signatures from registered voters in 180 days to get a spot on the ballot.
  •  If voters pass the initiative, a special statewide election would ask voters if they want California state to become a sovereign nation.
  • The state’s attorney general said if the measure passed, clauses in the state constitution that call the state “an inseparable part of the United States” would be erased.
  • The same would go for anything calling the U.S. Constitution the “supreme law of the land.” Read more
shiro’s bday

you guys have no idea how amused i am that shiro’s bday is feb 29th and so i must convey it through all these potential siblinglike sass moments??? think of all the possibilities??????

shiro: patience yields focus
keith: don’t use your dad voice on me you’re like four
keith: unlike you

keith: shiro play video games with me
shiro: can’t now, i’m busy
keith: you’re not busy, you’re five
shiro: ok first of all, THE DISRESPECT, second of all, how dare you quote the english dub of ponyo to me in my own home

shiro: ugh i’m so tired…
keith: naptime for baby
shiro: had it not been for the laws of this land, i would have slaughtered you

shiro: shit i forgot my wallet
keith: don’t worry i’ve got it this time just pay me back later
shiro: ah okay, thanks–
keith: one student and one child ticket, please
shiro: kEITH

(also all of shiro’s friends and family throw him an extra big birthday party whenever february 29th actually exists, and he’s embarrassed but also adores it because he loves Friendship and Teamwork)


Local law enforcement officers have arrested some people who chose not to evacuate federal land near part of the Dakota Access Pipeline north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Most protesters had left earlier. At dusk, police moved back, and said they would not enter the camp at that time.

The governor of North Dakota had set Wednesday as the

evacuation deadline

for the largest protest camp, which is on a flat area north of the Cannonball River. He cited flooding concerns.

Protesters supporting members of the Standing Rock Sioux, many of whom believe the pipeline’s route under a section of the Missouri River known as Lake Oahe will endanger drinking water, have been living on the land for six months or more. They have erected shelters and organized supply systems for food and water, even as winter brought freezing temperatures and feet of snow.

As the 3 p.m. ET deadline approached, some demonstrators prayed while others took down some shelters and set fire to things they were not carrying out. Rain falling on law enforcement and demonstrators turned to fat snowflakes.

“It looks like a trash pile. But it’s getting picked up and every spot is starting to look better and better as we work together,” Dotty Agard of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe told Amy Sisk of Inside Energy while sorting through abandoned goods.

“One man used a four-wheeler to help get a car out of the deep mud, and another person rode a snowmobile through the dirt,” The New York Times reported from the area. “Some semipermanent structures had been burned, apparently an effort to demolish them ahead of the deadline. A fire burned, black smoke rising in the cold air, while some people roamed the area.”

Protesters Leave Dakota Access Pipeline Area; Some Stay And Are Arrested

Photos: Angus Mordant for NPR

The RFA: A Summary


  • did i tell you how much you remind me of rika
  • lolol
  • if v and remy from ratatouille were drowning and i could only save one you’d see me at the funeral eating some tasty fettuccine alfredo


  • i look like a god
  • i act like a god
  • therefore i am a god
  • oh and fuck you jumin


  • man i love elizabeth 3rd
  • maybe later zen
  • my dad sure gets on my nerves but i still take the time to get him a #1 dad mug
  • assistant kang remember to go hold elizabeth for your own suffering after work okay


  • i honestly do not get paid enough for this
  • my blood could be 98% coffee and i still wouldn’t care
  • i’m so stressed i don’t even care anymore
  • seven no


  • seven yes
  • i calculate the angle of my dabs for fun
  • don’t pay attention to me
  • why the fu c k are you ignoring me 
  • bro


  • if it weren’t for the laws of this land i would have slaughtered you
  • call me edgelord mcgee because i hate my life
  • the zero is seven’s name is how much will i have to live


  • kms
  • jk lol
  • i’d rather start a secret society, blind my fiance, brainwash a kid, and fake my own death ;)


  • lol what are we looking at
  • oh right i can’t fucking see because i’m dead

“This was supposed to be a regular “hi mom” visit. It was my first time coming home in five years. I was expecting my mother to pick me up from the airport, but my sister-in-law was there when I landed. She told me that my mother was in the hospital. She was bleeding internally and had a blood clot in her leg. Right after we arrived, two surgeons sat me down, and told me they needed a decision immediately. They’d given my mother eleven units of blood and they wanted to amputate her leg and give her a colonoscopy bag. At first I asked if we could do nothing. But then I told them to go ahead and do it. And I think I made the wrong decision. She’s recovering now, and it’s becoming apparent that she’ll never be able to do basic things by herself. And I know my mother. She’s a very independent woman. She rakes her own leaves and blows the snow off her own driveway. She wouldn’t want to live like this. She’d never say this to me, but I think she feels that I let her down.”

The Trump Administration Is Coming, So Now What? Answers to Your Health Care Questions

A lot of folks are asking if they can still get their health care at their local Planned Parenthood health centers. Let us reassure you: Our health centers are open, and Planned Parenthood is here to stay.

Here are answers to some of the questions we’re getting from concerned patients and supporters.

Q: Did the election make abortion illegal?

A: No. Safe, legal abortion is still the law of the land.

The election didn’t make abortion illegal overnight. Politicians who oppose safe and legal abortion won many elections on November 8 — including the Presidential race — but the laws haven’t changed yet. As of today, you have the exact same access to abortion that you had before the election, and it’ll only change if the laws are changed.

If you want to have an abortion, contact your nearest Planned Parenthood health center.

Q: Did Planned Parenthood get shut down?

A: Nope. Our doors are open, and they’re staying open.

Planned Parenthood health centers are open as usual, and staff are doing what they’ve always done: Getting up in the morning; opening the health center doors; and providing expert, affordable health care to anyone who needs it.

Looking for birth control, emergency contraception, STD testing, cancer screening, pelvic exams, pregnancy testing, abortion, or a place to discuss your pregnancy options? Contact your nearest Planned Parenthood health center. Some health centers offer hormone replacement therapy and other services, too.

Q: I’m worried about my health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Should I make all my doctors appointments ASAP?

A: Yes, it’s always important to schedule needed doctor’s appointments. And if you don’t have health insurance, it’s not too late to sign up through the Affordable Care Act.

It’s never a bad idea to make the health care appointments you need and get on top of your preventive care while you have coverage. The Affordable Care Act — and all its benefits like full coverage of preventive care including birth control — won’t go away unless there is a change in law.

If you don’t have health insurance, you can enroll now. The deadline is January 31, 2017. If you enroll by December 15th, your coverage can kick in as early as New Year’s Day. If you already have coverage under ACA, you can update your information or look for a new plan until January 31st.

Most people who are uninsured get financial help to buy a plan. Check out to find the plans you’re eligible for and which ones include Planned Parenthood health centers. The site also helps you find local, in-person assistance with signing up for health insurance.

As always, be proactive about your health, and remember that Planned Parenthood is here for you no matter what.

I’ve seen a couple post claiming the ACLU isn’t a good organization because they’ve defended folks like the KKK and other disgusting organizations and as a lawyer I just can’t let people make these claims and not address them.

First, let me say that as a queer Black woman, some of the folks the ACLU has represented make me absolutely sick. They want me and mine dead. They are terrible. But I am wholeheartedly here for the ACLU representing these people because of the way the law works.

In the law, there’s a thing called precedent. It basically means that decisions that are made in these cases are the law of the land unless they are overturned on appeal. Most questions of law have been settled and when lawyers argue they just refer the judge to how previous, similar cases were decided and the judge usually follows suit because they don’t wanna be overturned on appeal.

When there are new/unique questions of law that haven’t been settled, especially around civil rights, the outcomes are super important because it will essentially impact all of us. So, as shitty and disgusting as it is, if the KKK’s speech is infringed in a way that creates a new legal question as to how the constitution applies, if they have a legit claim and no one defends them and they lose, the rule and reasoning that the judge lays down becomes law. So, later if for example #NoDAPL or BLM folks are marching or demonstrating and have their speech infringed upon in the way the KKK previously did, if they bring it to court the precedent established in the KKK’s case applies and #NoDAPL or BLM lose. Because for better or worse the law in most of these cases doesn’t hinge on “are these people saying things we support and want to spread?” and it doesn’t really matter legally if one group is the KKK and the other is #NoDAPL. In short, those aren’t the facts that legal decisions are made on.

In short, sometimes to protect ALL of our legal rights, the ACLU has to protect the rights of deplorable and disgusting people. And honestly, we should be thankful that there are folks out here willing to do this dirty work. The ACLU is about protecting our constitutional civil rights and sometimes that means protecting those of bad people so that those decisions and resulting laws can’t be used to hurt good people. And more often than not, the ACLU is fighting for good people. Please keep that in mind before claiming the ACLU is awful.


Here are 5 of the biggest issues Trump’s Supreme Court could decide

Abortion rights

  • If Trump does indeed get three appointments and manages to fill all of them with anti-abortion rights justices, he could be able to get a court that will overturn the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, which upheld the legal right to obtain an abortion. 
  • Though Trump has frequently been wishy-washy on the issue of abortion, he’d likely want to please his base by choosing very anti-abortion rights justices.

Gun rights

  • In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in Heller v. DC that Americans had a right to keep a handgun at home for self-defense. 
  • Soon, though, the Court could hear a case about if Americans have a right to carry a handgun outside of their own homes. This may have a huge impact on open carry laws throughout the land.

Transgender rights

  • Last October, the Court agreed to hear a case over whether or not transgender students have the right to use the restroom of their gender expression in public schools. 
  • While this decision might be made before Trump is able to appoint a justice, if he does manage to fill Scalia’s seat, the conservatives on the court will have a much easier time defending their position.

Immigration rights

  • Immigration issues are sure to reach the court during Trump’s tenure, especially if he follows through on some of his more radical plans.

Voting rights

  • The court already made a decision that Trump is going to like for procedural reasons by declining to hear a case on voter ID rules. 
  • This will allow the White House to come out in favor of voter ID laws, changing the previous official position and possibly even push them in other states. Read more

“The Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land for over six years. It’s improved people’s lives, and we can’t go backward. Repealing the ACA would take away the protections that millions of Americans rely on. It would also raise premiums and stop our progress towards better quality care. Don’t let Republicans in Congress take us back to the days when you could be denied for having a pre-existing condition or you could be charged more simply for being a woman. Tell them we want to build on the progress we’ve made, not abandon it. I’ve put forward a bunch of ideas for how we can do that, and I hope that Republicans can put politics aside and work with Democrats on behalf of all Americans to make the program even better. That’s how we’ll make sure that everybody gets the health care they deserve.” —President Obama. Make sure you have coverage for 2017 by signing up on by Dec. 15th.

the woman, busy. shuffling hands passing dishes like magicians from cabinet to table. the muffled laughter of a shared joke that doesn’t pass outside the kitchen door. inside here is equal footing and slippery slopes both, grandmother clucks and takes the bowl because you’re stirring wrong and there should be more salt don’t you know; in-law pinches lips about full-fat milk pour. but here, land untouched by men, there is a warmth of kin. the woman dance, around toys on the floor, the art of raising house quietly, of asking nicely for help, of expecting refusal. the young girls who are already learning to whisk in and out, hands full of food, tight smile at lewd. the moment where young girls become young women, where they are handed salad or bread to serve, where they get the joke, where a door softly opens and they are home. something deep and secret and magic. unwork, unhard, unlabor. the keeping of beasts, who roughhouse and kick up heels, who drink beers and belch at televisions. the quieting of red-cheeked shouters, whose women know to duck, to insert crackers to calm hunger, to approach with gentle hands and speak in gentle words and gentle shushing of a loud soul. inside the kitchen she straightens, she eye-rolls, she whispers men and we all, women, we know.

I just realized that Qrow is totally a Karasu-tengu (Crow Tengu) in Japanese mythology. (One of the folklore that actually paint crows in a positive light.) They’re winged bird creatures that can shape-shift and take human form, are skilled sword fighting warriors, have great knowledge, and protect the law of the land. They are the deities called upon in prayer by desperate people (Tai) to help their children (Yang and Ruby) get back home. They also play tricks on the arrogant and vain (Winter) while rewarding and helping to train those who are modest and aim to help others (Ruby). 

Episode 197: Cecil Baldwin

There’s no real podcasting precedent for Welcome to Night Vale. In the decade or so since I started podcasting, I’ve never seen a phenomenon like it. The show seemingly came out of nowhere and shot to the top of the iTunes chart with loyal fanbase built up around Tumblr communities, creating fan art and fiction and dressing up as their favorite characters whenever the show rolls through town.

The brainchild of writers Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the show centers on the goings on of a small desert town somewhere in the southwest, an impossible place where occult creatures are commonplace and conspiracies are the law of the land.

Baldwin, a Neo-Futurist actor based in New York, portrays Cecil Palmer, the host, main character and moral center of the program, imbuing the character and show with a hypnotic voice and elements of his real life personality that have become a rallying point for so much of the show’s communal nature.

In honor of Night Vale’s 100th episode, we sat down with Baldwin to discuss the show’s origin, his acting history and the recent announcement that he is HIV positive.

For fans of Welcome to Night Vale:

Episode 095: Jeffrey Cranor

Episode 169: Mara Wilson

Episode 195: Julian Koster

Despite Trump’s assurances, LGBTQ rights are hardly ‘settled’ in court

  • It has been nearly two years since the Supreme Court handed down the Obergefell ruling, making marriage equality the law of the land in all 50 states. 
  • Yet the extent of that equality remains vulnerable to interpretation in lower courts, especially for LGBTQ parents.
  • President Donald Trump has said that he considers same-sex marriage to be “settled.” 
  • Yet he also said that he would “strongly consider” appointing a Supreme Court justice who would overturn the Obergefell ruling.
  • It seems like even the most “settled” of civil rights issues could enter the courtroom once more. Read more