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Archive for June 21st, 2014

Jim McMahon Struggles with Dementia at 54

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Jim McMahon Struggles with Dementia at 54
Jim McMahon recalls hanging out with former Super Bowl XX Bears teammate Dave Duerson about a month before Duerson committed suicide, shooting himself in the chest Feb. 17, 2011. “He was a lot more quiet than I originally had known him to be,” McMahon said. “But I would have never guessed he was going through that much pain until I started (going through it) myself.” McMahon is 54 and suffers early on-set dementia.

Pope Francis Declares Mafia ‘Excommunicated’
While on a visit to Calabria, the Italy region home to the ‘Ndrangheta criminal organization, Pope Francis said during a mass that “those who follow this evil path, as Mafiosi do, are not in communion with the church. They are excommunicated.” He continued, “The ‘Ndrangheta … is the adoration of evil and contempt for the common good. This evil must be fought off. The church … must constantly work so that good prevails.” Earlier this year the pope met with 1,000 family members of mafia victims.


Seeger honored at 1st folk festival since he died

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Seeger honored at 1st folk festival since he died
CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. (AP) — Music luminaries honored Pete Seeger on the shore of the Hudson River at Saturday’s Clearwater Festival, the first of the annual music and environmental program he started to be held after his death.


VA: 80 percent of senior execs got bonuses last year

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

VA: 80 percent of senior execs got bonuses last year
Despite widespread treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals, most execs received extra pay


How Fox News Has A Conversation About Islam

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

How Fox News Has A Conversation About Islam

After speakers at a Heritage Foundation event mocked a Muslim student who pointed out the right’s overwhelmingly negative rhetoric on Islam, Fox News doubled down on anti-Islam vitriol and viciously attacked the student.

On June 16, the Heritage Foundation held an event to discuss the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Many of the panelists had a well-documented history of inflammatory rhetoric about Islam.

The Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank detailed the event in a June 16 column, noting that the session quickly devolved into conspiratorial attacks on Islam. Milbank wrote that when Saba Ahmed, a Muslim law student, confronted the panelists about their attacks, she was mocked by panelists Brigitte Gabriel and Chris Plante. 

Conservatives complained Milbank had mischaracterized the panel in order to smear the right as anti-Islam (Milbank responded to some of his critics in a June 18 column).

But in the days following the Heritage event, Fox News has proved the premise of Milbank’s argument correct by viciously attacking Ahmed and other Muslims. 

Sean Hannity hosted Ahmed and Gabriel on the June 19 edition of his Fox News show. During the segment, Hannity and Gabriel criticized Ahmed for bringing up conservative treatment of Muslims during a panel about Benghazi, with Gabriel accusing her of trying to steal “the limelight.”  Hannity claimed that he doesn’t “hear a lot of criticism about radicalism and the hijacking of a religion” from moderate Muslims, and asked Ahmed to denounce crimes against women and homosexuals that are justified by some Muslim sects.


Date Night at the Abortion Movie

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Date Night at the Abortion Movie
Heather Wilhelm, RealClearPolitics
Earlier this week, I did something terrible: I talked my husband into going to a screening of an “abortion romantic comedy” with me. It was his birthday. To my credit, we went to a manly steak dinner beforehand. Also to my credit, I usually have decent taste in movies. But over the past few weeks, I’ve seen glowing review after glowing review for “Obvious Child,” a film, as The Guardian describes it, “about a girl who gets an abortion and lives happily ever after.” Variety calls it a “fresh and funny chronicle of a one-night stand with…

U.S. to Send Up to 300 Military Advisers to Iraq, Obama Says
Alexis Simendinger, RealClearPolitics
President Obama has ordered “up to” 300 American military and other specialists into Iraq to “train, advise and equip” the Iraqi military to battle Sunni jihadists who have seized control of Iraqi towns as part of a religious-based sectarian clash. The president said his decision Thursday to deploy intelligence units and other advisers to Iraq was intended to be limited as to scope and objectives. And he acknowledged Americans’ deep misgivings about risking more U.S. lives in a country American forces exited in late 2011. But Obama set no time limits on the new…

Missing IRS Emails; White House Maker Faire; Lady Liberty
Carl M. Cannon, RealClearPolitics
Good morning. It’s Thursday, June 19, 2014, and 129 years ago today the Statue of Liberty arrived at its permanent home in New York Harbor. Officially called “Liberty Enlightening the World,” she was the brainchild of a Paris native named Edouard de Laboulaye. A leading French abolitionist, Laboulaye’s original inspiration wasn’t America’s welcoming immigration policies — but rather the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery. It was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, who personally chose…


Marine conservation ‘too slow’ – MPs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Marine conservation ‘too slow’ – MPs
The development of conservation areas to protect the seas around the UK has been too slow, a group of MPs says.

AUDIO: Blunkett’s ‘wilderness’ warning to Labour
The former Labour cabinet minister David Blunkett has warned that the party “would be in the wilderness for as much as 15 years” if it was to lose the next general election.


Fears of EPA ‘land grab’ create groundswell against water rule

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fears of EPA ‘land grab’ create groundswell against water rule
Lawmakers are up in arms over a proposal they fear could give the EPA expansive powers.


Egyptian Court Confirms Death Penalty for Muslim Brotherhood Defendants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Egyptian Court Confirms Death Penalty for Muslim Brotherhood Defendants
The action continued a crackdown on Islamists, despite widespread foreign criticism.



Ballot Counting Continues as Some Afghans Protest
Supporters of Abdullah Abdullah protested across Kabul demanding that the government address accusations that ballot counting in the runoff election was fraudulent.



Aid Scarce as Pakistanis Flee Conflict
At least 200,000 Pakistani civilians have fled a combat zone in North Waziristan since the government began an offensive against militants.



Op-Ed Columnist: For These 2 Women, the Lottery of Birth Decides Opportunity
Two women, both 20 and talented, have lives that are miles apart. Literally and otherwise, thanks to the lottery of birth.




George Will Defends Controversial Column On Campus Sexual Assault

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

George Will Defends Controversial Column On Campus Sexual Assault

Despite thousands of people calling for his resignation, the columnist doubled down on his statements about college rape.

The post George Will Defends Controversial Column On Campus Sexual Assault appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Washington Post columnist George Will

Washington Post columnist George Will

CREDIT: C-SPAN

Washington Post syndicated columnist George Will is standing by his recent article on sexual assault that sparked considerable backlash and led at least one prominent newspaper to drop his byline.

In an interview with C-SPAN that will air in full sometime in July, Will said he wouldn’t take back a word of his controversial column, and dismissed his critics as overreacting. “Today, for some reason, indignation is the default position of certain people,” Will said. “I think it has something to do with the internet.”

Will takes issue with the Obama Administration’s recent report on the scope of the campus rape crisis, which cites data from the Department of Justice to conclude that one in five college women are the victim of sexual assault. He claims that statistic is much too high and doesn’t line up with the other data about sexual assault reports.

Over the past week, experts who research violence against women have pointed out the flaws with Will’s interpretation of the data, which relies on a dubious analysis from the American Enterprise Institute — a right-wing group that has a long history of downplaying campus sexual assaults. Nonetheless, Will is defending his column as an important tool to educate people about the real data at the heart of the issue. “When dubious statistics become the basis of dubious and dangerous abandonment of due process, it’s my job to step in and say, ‘Everyone take a deep breath,’?” he told C-SPAN.

According to Will, colleges are lowering the standard of proof for sexual assault allegations, and he’s worried that ruin the lives of young men. “What’s going to result is a lot of young men and young women in this sea of hormones and alcohol that gets into so much trouble on campus, and you’re going to have charges of sexual assault. And you’re going to have young men disciplined, their lives often permanently and seriously blighted by this — they won’t get into medical school, they won’t get into law school, and all of this,” Will said in the interview.

The individuals who resist efforts to reform campus sexual assault policies are often preoccupied with the potential of false rape allegations. That’s the primary argument furthered by so-called “men’s rights advocates,” who claim that feminism is ultimately leading to the victimization of men. These attitudes are pervasive in mainstream society, too, where the reaction to rape cases is often concern for the accused rapists’ reputations instead of concern for the victims’ well being.

In reality, however, researchers estimate that false rape allegations make up about two to eight percent of all reports. Although the Duke lacrosse case is typically trotted out as proof that lying women can ruin college men’s lives, the women who file false claims often receive punishments that are far worse than the consequences for actual rapists.

In the portion of the interview that was released on Friday, Will did not address his claim that the attention to campus rape has ensured that rape victims have somewhat of a “coveted status,” an assertion that inspired thousands of sexual assault victims to push back under the hashtag #SurvivorPrivilege. But he did say that he believes he takes sexual assault more seriously than the lawmakers who wrote him an open letter to critique his recent column.

Since Will’s column was published, thousands of people have signed petitions calling for his resignation. The Washington Post continues to stand by him, saying that opinion columnists are supposed to provoke debate, but other papers haven’t done the same. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch apologized for publishing the “offensive” article on campus rape and announced it will no longer carry Will’s syndicated column in the future. And the Chicago Tribune passed on the column altogether, deciding not to run it because the paper believed it was “misguided and insensitive.”

The post George Will Defends Controversial Column On Campus Sexual Assault appeared first on ThinkProgress.

California Prisons Illegally Sterilized Dozens Of Women, Audit Finds

A new audit confirms that illegal sterilizations were completed in California prisons.

The post California Prisons Illegally Sterilized Dozens Of Women, Audit Finds appeared first on ThinkProgress.

California Prisons Medical Pay

CREDIT: AP

A California State Auditors report criticized California’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for illegal sterilizations in women’s prison, which were done without consent and grossly violated prison policy. The audit, requested by, California Legislative Women’s Caucus, was completed in response to findings from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) last July.

Between fiscal years 2005-2006 and 2012-2013, 144 bilateral tubal ligations, or tube-tying procedures, were carried out. According to the report, tubal ligations are generally done “for the sole purpose of sterilization,” so prisons must follow strict guidelines to perform them.

Auditors found that 39 of 144 did not give full consent. In 27 of the 39 procedures, the physician did not sign a consent form guaranteeing that the “inmate appeared mentally competent and understood the lasting effects of the procedure.” And in 18 of the 39 cases, physicians violated the required waiting period between the inmate’s consent and the actual procedure. Inmates who did give consent did not have a witness of choice, as required by prison medical regulations. Physicians did not document their conversations with inmates about the sterilization process with any of the 144 inmates. And none of the procedures were authorized by an oversight committee of state medical professionals.

“This audit demonstrates there is a systemic problem, and implicates the entire culture. The right to have a family is a fundamental right that each of us has. Many of these women are first-time offenders and already have families,” claimed Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, in response to the audit.

All of the inmates who had their tubes tied had a history of at least one imprisonment, leading former inmates to argue that they certain women were targeted by prison officials. And while he’s not mentioned in the auditors’ report, a second CIR investigation found that the majority of illegal sterilization procedures were authorized or performed by Dr. James Heinrich.

In addition to highlighting the illegal sterilizations, the report offered several recommendations to prevent illegal sterilizations in the future. Prisons should provide special training on how to comply with consent rules, and develop a consistent for witnesses of choice to watch the consent process.

The post California Prisons Illegally Sterilized Dozens Of Women, Audit Finds appeared first on ThinkProgress.


From the World Cup to the Washington Football Team, Indigenous People Fight to Be Seen

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 21st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

From the World Cup to the Washington Football Team, Indigenous People Fight to Be Seen
From: Dave Zirin

Whether in Brazil or the United States, opponents of Native rights have taken to the tactic of pretending indigenous social justice activists simply do not exist.