Big news out of the Senate: the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee voted 15-7 in favor of S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. 12 Democrats and Republicans Murkowski (AK), Kirk (IL), and Hatch (UT) all voted in favor. That's right, Orrin Hatch, who struggled to survive a primary challenge from his right in 2012. I'm old enough to remember when nobody stood to the right of Orrin Hatch. The rather sizable vote bodes well for a full Senate vote on S. 815 -- but let's not get complacent. A phone call to your Senators would build momentum. I wonder what manner of foolishness any recalcitrant Senator might employ to justify voting against ENDA. Perhaps they'll say TEH LAWZ PROTECTZ THA GAYZ ENUFFZZZ!!!!! when, actually, most states can still fire someone just for being gay. Or they'll yell SPESHUL RIGHTZZZ!!!! when ENDA very carefully avoids creating new affirmative action programs and preserves an employer's right to fire someone for cause. Really, our opponents ain't got no case. That never stopped them before, but it sure doesn't have to stop us.
Meanwhile, our last Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, actually outperformed expectations in protecting the Grand Canyon from uranium mining corporations -- but let's not get complacent about that, either. The Sierra Club helps you tell President Obama to make the Grand Canyon a national monument. What's that, you say? The Grand Canyon isn't already a national monument? No, it is not. And what would Mr. Obama's opponents say if he designated the Grand Canyon a national monument? That he's caving to evil environmentalists? That he values ancient trees and Native American historical sites more than he values our energy independence? Oh, dear, all of that does actually sound like something they'd do, with absolutely no sense of how they'd be coming off to sane and reasonable people. But you can't control the behavior of pricks; you can only outvote them, and outshout them if necessary. And point out, of course, that letting uranium mining corporations run amok in the Grand Canyon will not only despoil a national treasure but pollute the drinking water of at least seven states.