Mary Lambert Releases “She Keeps Me Warm” Video

Last fall, LGBTQ individuals and allies found solace and strength when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released “Same Love,” The fourth single off of their album “The Heist,” featuring Seattle based singer/songwriter Mary Lambert. The song was recorded during the campaign for Washington Referendum 74, the ballot measure that legalized gay marriage in the state of Washington. “Same Love” became an anthem for gay rights activists across the country, a rallying cry for legalization and recognition of same sex marriages. The single topped out at number #11 on the Billboard top 100 charts but reached #1 in Australia and New Zealand.

Mary Lambert co-wrote the song and composed the hit’s hook chorus in less than 2 hours. Mary Lambert a self-taught pianist from age 6, pulled her inspiration for the song from her personal experiences.


Lambert had a tumultuous upbringing she and has spoken candidly about the abuse she suffered as a child.  “I had a pretty traumatic childhood,” she said.  “I ended up being a depressed eight-year-old.  I was really, really sad.”   Desperately in need of an emotional outlet, Lambert’s obvious choice was music, an inclination that runs in her family.  “We always had a piano in the house, and Mom always had her guitar,” she added.  Lambert continued to struggle with overcoming sexual abuse, bipolar disorder, and realizing her sexuality, but said she considers music to be what she can pinpoint as, “an immediate turnaround.”

Lambert was raised Pentecostal, and saw firsthand the prejudices many within the church have against the gay community when her mom came out as a lesbian.  “My mom started dating women when I was six,” she said, “and the church ostracized us.”  Growing up in poverty, their forced severance from the church took not only a toll on their faith-based lives, but also on their finances.  “We were sort of a charity family, and so we lost all of that, and that connection to that community.” read full article

After the unprecedented success of “Same Love,” Mary embarked on a journey to expand on the story glimpsed in “Same love”. With the support of co-collaborators Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, she wrote and recorded a beautiful extension to the hit song, “She keeps me Warm.” The new song was released nationwide in July.

Today exclusively on the Billboard Music website, Mary Lambert released the video to accompany “She keeps me warm.” In the interview with Billboard Mary described her motivation, and inspiration for the video.

“Two years ago, I did an extensive YouTube search for a mainstream music video that depicted a lesbian relationship,” she says. “I was disappointed, shocked and a little hurt that I couldn’t find a single one. Sure, there were hot girls rolling around in lingerie, girls briefly holding hands, or something involving a man. Lesbians were used as shock value. This video came to fruition with an all-queer female crew who shared my vision. It was an incredible experience.” read full article

Mary Lambert will be performing along with her co-collaborators, the nationwide hit, “same love,” at the Video Music Awards this coming Sunday Night. The VMA’s will broadcast live on MTV on August 25th at 9pm/8pm Central. Follow the link below to view the exclusive premiere on the Billboard Music website, before its wide release at noon on August 25th.

Children in the South Face Steepest Slope in Escaping Poverty

New Research, analyzing census data and other quantitative data sources, shows that children in the south face the steepest climb when attempting to escape poverty. The ability to move up the income ladder, otherwise known as income mobility, is a reliable measure of economic mobility or the ability to change one’s overall economic status. New research by Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, and Emmanuel Saez, sponsored by the University of California Berkeley and Harvard, looked at how tax expenditures affect inter-generational income mobility.

The main part of their research involved looking at the income of adults (30 or older)  in comparison to the income of their parents. The research paints a startling picture of trying to escape poverty and climbing the income ladder. When it comes to economic mobility, being born in the right part of the country definitely helps.

The study — based on millions of anonymous earnings records and being released this week by a team of top academic economists — is the first with enough data to compare upward mobility across metropolitan areas. These comparisons provide some of the most powerful evidence so far about the factors that seem to drive people’s chances of rising beyond the station of their birth, including education, family structure and the economic layout of metropolitan areas. Read full New York Times article


In southern Cities like Atlanta, a child born into a family in the 20th percentile ($25 K) or lower will on average will only climb to the 35th (42 K), and only 8 % of children at this level will ever be considered a top earner at $107 K or more. Atlanta though isn’t the worst place for income mobility, in the greater Eufaula area of Georgia a child only has a 2.7% of climbing from the bottom fifth to the top fifth of the income distribution. Georgia, Louisiana, and the Carolina’s have the lowest rates of income mobility.

The New York Times article includes interactive maps where you can view the income mobility rates for different areas and starting income levels, to see what the average earnings a child from that background will have by the time they reach 30.

So what does all this mean? It means that economically disadvantaged families in the south are less likely to escape the cycle of poverty than families in the midwest, northeast, or western parts of the country. Notable exceptions to this include the areas near:

  • Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo Michigan
  • Cleveland, Columbus, Ohio
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Nome and Bethel, Alaska
  • Mission, South Dakota

View the Truth and Hope Poverty Tour of North Carolina video for more information.

Boy Scouts Ban Obese Kids From National Jamboree

BSA-Jamboree-logoThe Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Jamboree is currently taking place in the beautiful and exciting mountains of West Virgina, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve. The National Jamboree, a scout outing highly regarded as the penultimate scouting excursion takes place every 4 years with around 30,000 youth participants.

Events at the Jamboree include activities like hiking, zip lining, rock climbing, rafting, live concerts, games, and more. However, for the past two years, BSA has implemented a new policy regarding standards of admittance to the 10 day scouting adventure.

The new standard bans children with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40 from being accepted to the Jamboree, and imposes further requirements on accepted children with BMI’s of 32 or higher, considered the cut off for obesity by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention. Even if a child, considered by the CDC standards to be obese, passes the additional scrutiny and is admitted into the program, there is no guarantee that they will be able to participate in its entirety.

The Jamboree itself not only has a BMI cutoff, but individual events within the trip also have BMI restrictions. BMI is a mathematical computation that takes into account only an individual’s height and weight. The measurement may be useful in helping physicians generally track the health of their patients, but it does not take into consideration body type, activity level, or other factors that may affect an individual’s ability to participate in high intensity physical activities.

CNN’s living well expert Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician in Atlanta, worries that the new standards are discriminatory, saying when she completes forms for patients to participate in summer camps or trips similar to the Jamboree that she takes into consideration many factors aside from BMI, including the child’s perception of their own abilities. Dr. Shu said that organizations like BSA, and other camps and organizations should be encouraging children to be physically active, and that the BMI cutoff is not the way to do it.

The new policy, according to Deron Smith, Director of Public Relations for BSA, as quoted by CNN,  “is not meant to keep anyone out at all, and it’s just to make sure that they’re safe…We offer thousands of summer camp experiences (that) do not have this requirement.” the Boy Scouts new healthy living initiative has helped inspire children and adults across the country to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles according to Mr. Smith, however, there are many who find the BSA’s BMI cut off for the jamboree to be taking their initiative to far.

jamboree-registration-scoutsThe National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance feels that the program not only discriminates against children but that it perpetuates stereotypes and bias based on weight. The organization asks that BSA determine admittance to the Jamboree not based on a blanket BMI cutoff, but on their participation as an active scout. BSA is unsure of how many children the new policy affected as children not meeting the requirement did not apply.

So should children be prevented from participating in certain activities because of their size? Safety is certainly a priority for any organization or group planning trips or activities for children, but what is the best way to determine child participation in high intensity physical activities?

To read the original CNN article click here.

North Carolina Unemployment Changes Leave Residents Without Safety Net

unemployment-applicationAfter North Carolina’s Unemployment law took effect this weekend, North Carolina is the first state to disqualify itself from a federal long term unemployment program. The North Carolina Unemployment changes, adopted and signed into law by Governor McCrory in February, were to help accelerate the repayment of debt owed to the federal government. North Carolina has the third highest federal debt in the country, $2.5 Billion, and will now be paid back three years ahead of schedule, but at what cost?

North Carolina has the fifth highest jobless rate in the nation, with unemployment above the national average in the majority of its 100 counties. With the new changes to the law, unemployment benefits will last a mere 12-15 weeks and on top of that, the maximum benefits receivable per week is dropping from $535 to $350. It is the reduction of weekly benefits that is responsible for disqualifying approximately 170,000 North Carolina residents from long term jobless funds from the federal government.

The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (EUC) kicks in after a state’s designated period of unemployment runs out, in North Carolina, this was previously 6 months. The EUC money is available to jobless in every state, however, a requirement for a state to qualify is that states cannot cut the average weekly benefits of recipients. The North Carolina legislature has cut weekly benefits starting July 1st by around $185.

The disqualification of the 170,000 workers from EUC funds means a loss of $700 million dollars, for those workers and their families. On top of the shortened compensation period for state unemployment, the reduced benefits, and the stricter requirements to qualify for the program, many jobless residents are going to be out of luck.

Ideally, this plan will accelerate the payment of the state’s debt to the federal Government having it entirely paid of by 2015, and not cost North Carolina companies an extra $21 per year per employee until the debt is paid. This legislation was designed and backed by the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, their top lobbyist called the situation unfortunate but said “You’ve got to pick a point in time where you solve the problem. They picked a point in time that allowed us the most time to pay the debt as quickly as we can…”

An Associated Press Article by Emery P. Dalesio on the changes included profiles of  North Carolinians who will personally be affected by the changes in the unemployment law. The section about one of those individuals is below:

“Lee Creighton, 45, of Cary, said he’s been unemployed since October, and this is the last week for which he’ll get nearly $500 in unemployment aid. He said he was laid off from a position managing statisticians and writers amid the recession’s worst days in 2009 and has landed and lost a series of government and teaching jobs since then — work that paid less half as much. His parents help him buy groceries to get by.

“I’m just not sure what I’m going to do,” said Creighton, who has a doctorate. “What are we to do? Is the state prepared to have this many people with no source of income?”

These cuts to unemployment are not only going to have devastating effects on the individual workers losing the benefits, but it will have devastating effects on their families as well. Last year a national report published by the Urban Institute and First focus estimated that 1 in 10 North Carolina children have at least one unemployed parent. NC Policy Watch discussed the report in a piece published on April 3rd, 2013.

As the report highlights, the effects of parental job loss on children can be severe. Economic stress links to parents’ responses to their children and children’s well being. And studies of unemployment and family income show that poverty increases sharply among the long-term unemployed. The adverse effects of children living in poverty can last well into adulthood. – See more here

The number of children with at least 1 unemployed parent increases by 140%.

Opponents of the unemployment changes include state labor groups, democratic representatives, and the North Carolina NAACP. They would like to have had the cuts delayed until the federal program runs out, but the Governor and republican controlled legislature refused. The federal EUC program expires in January. The delay may have given North Carolina workers and families time to prepare for the devastating cuts.  However, supporters of the enacted changes say the sooner the federal debt is re-payed the sooner the legislature can develop a long term solution for North Carolina’s unemployed. Until that solution comes, thousands of North Carolinians are going to find themselves without work and without a safety net.

Texas Senator Wendy Davis’ 11 hour Filibuster of Abortion Bill

3013501-poster-1920-leadership-lessons-from-wendy-davis-dramatic-filibusterIt has been quite an eventful week in politics, at the national level, and in several states. Not only did the Supreme Court hand down rulings on some key cases including DOMA, Proposition 8, and the Voting Rights Act, but the Senate amended the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill to add stronger border security provisions, and is in the beginning stages of coming to a deal regarding student federal loan interest rates (something I am personally very happy about considering the average 6 K in Stafford loans I take each year). Besides all of that earlier this week, something magical happened in Texas.

Wendy Davis, a state Senator representing Texas’ 10th district, made national news for her 11 hour filibuster of the republican backed restrictive reproductive health bill that the Texas legislature’s leadership was attempting to railroad through the state senate. The bill Wendy said would have a “devastating impact” by enacting a 20 week abortion ban, and effectively closing almost all of the health clinics that provide abortive services, among other vital health services for women, across the state.

Wendy Davis,  a hero to many in the reproductive rights fight, stood for 13 hours without bathroom breaks, water, or food and talked. Her goal was to kill the bill by stalling the vote till after the midnight deadline for the session. “I thought that we could stop it and we did stop it, for now,” she said on a CBS This Morning Interview. However the victory may be short-lived, as Governor Rick Perry has called a second special session specifically for this bill to be held on July 1st.

Wendy Davis has become a rallying cry for those engaged in the fight against restrictive reproductive health legislation. Her courage, dedication, and unique background have become an inspiration to women, including myself, across the county. The Washington post’s Lydia Depillis published a great profile of Wendy Davis this week, bellow is an excerpt:

 “She knows about single motherhood, and poverty. The 50-year-old Davis had to care for her three siblings at the age of 14 for her single mother, and became a single mother herself at the age of 19.

She knows the law. Davis became the first person in her family to graduate from college, with a degree from Texas Christian University and then Harvard Law School. She clerked, litigated, and spent a few years in the title insurance business before starting her own practice for federal and local government affairs, real estate, and contract compliance.”

The national attention she has gotten this week over her “marathon filibuster”  has many talking about the possibility of her seeking a higher office, her response “….we’ll see.” My Response to her is that I hope so, we need more strong women in politics that are willing to sacrifice for the best interests of their constituents.

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