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Archive for July 1st, 2014

Fluke: Hobby Lobby Case an Attack on Women

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fluke: Hobby Lobby Case an Attack on Women
Sandra Fluke: Today, the Supreme Court ruled in the nationally followed Hobby Lobby case. … Why is birth control — an uncontroversial form of care used by an astonishing number of women — different from blood transfusions and vaccines, which many individuals have religious objections to? The fact is, itÂ?s not. This case sets a dangerous precedent and can be used in the future to go far past birth control.


Ex-New Mexico Gov. Johnson named pot company CEO

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Ex-New Mexico Gov. Johnson named pot company CEO
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Nevada-based startup that plans on selling medical and recreational marijuana products named former New Mexico governor and U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson as its CEO and president, the company announced Tuesday.

AIDS scientist pleads not guilty to faking study
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A former Iowa State University scientist has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he falsified his research for an AIDS vaccine to secure millions of dollars in federal funding.


IAVA CEO: Replacing VA head is “just step one”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

IAVA CEO: Replacing VA head is “just step one”
Paul Rieckhoff, the CEO and founder of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, explains what Bob McDonald – President Obama’s pick to be the next secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – needs to do to restore trust to the agency.


Exclusive: The Sexual Assault Survivor George Will Dismissed Responds

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Exclusive: The Sexual Assault Survivor George Will Dismissed Responds

Lisa SendrowLisa Sendrow, whose experience of college sexual assault was dismissed by The Washington Post‘s George Will, slammed the columnist for silencing the voices of survivors and rejected the idea she received any privileges from her status as a survivor, as Will suggested. Instead, she said she was diagnosed with PTSD following her assault and received violent threats after her story was first reported.

Will’s June 6 column sparked outrage from women’s organizations, U.S. senators, and college rape survivors for suggesting that sexual assault victims — or people who Will decided were only claiming to be sexual assault victims — enjoyed “a coveted status that confers privileges.” To make his point, Will relied on an anecdote from a Philadelphia magazine article about a young woman from Swarthmore College, implying that he didn’t believe her story qualified as an actual incident of assault:

Consider the supposed campus epidemic of rape, a.k.a. “sexual assault.” Herewith, a Philadelphia magazine report about Swarthmore College, where in 2013 a student “was in her room with a guy with whom she’d been hooking up for three months”:

“They’d now decided — mutually, she thought — just to be friends. When he ended up falling asleep on her bed, she changed into pajamas and climbed in next to him. Soon, he was putting his arm around her and taking off her clothes. ‘I basically said, “No, I don’t want to have sex with you.” And then he said, “OK, that’s fine” and stopped. . . . And then he started again a few minutes later, taking off my panties, taking off his boxers. I just kind of laid there and didn’t do anything — I had already said no. I was just tired and wanted to go to bed. I let him finish. I pulled my panties back on and went to sleep.'”

Six weeks later, the woman reported that she had been raped. Now the Obama administration is riding to the rescue of “sexual assault” victims.

Will didn’t name the woman in his column, but Philadelphia magazine did — this is Lisa Sendrow’s story.

Sendrow graduated from Swarthmore in 2013 and now works as a legal assistant. She told Media Matters in an interview over the weekend that she first “tried to avoid the Will piece as much as possible,” but after friends pressed her to read it she found the column “infuriating,” and felt that his dismissal of her story was dangerous to survivors.

“No one wants to hear that you brought this on yourself,” she said, while discussing her reaction to Will’s piece. “No one wants to relive the experience or tell that story, when they haven’t really had a chance to reflect. You can’t really heal if people are telling you that it’s your fault. But that’s what Will did.”

Sendrow explained that she has experienced sexual assault multiple times, but decided to officially report this particular experience and talk to Philadelphia magazine in part because at the time she worked as an advocate for survivors on a campus hotline. “I realized that I could no longer be an advocate and tell survivors to go to the college and report if I wasn’t going myself.” But the decision wasn’t easy, and that contributed to her choosing to wait before initially reporting. “The fact that Will said I waited [to report the assault] — most women wait awhile. You have to think about what happened, you have to heal.”

Research from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control found that 1 in 5 women had been sexually assaulted while in college, and repeat victimization is common. Reporting rates are particularly low on campuses, and campus assailants tend to be repeat offenders. “This is the only sexual assault I’ve ever reported,” Sendrow noted, “because I felt I was the most safe reporting this one.”

She added that she “was also raised to think I put myself in this situation, and it took me a really long time. After hearing others’ stories I realized it wasn’t my fault — I was raped. I didn’t want to be diminished, I didn’t want to be afraid.”

While the Philadelphia magazine story clearly documented a serious example of sexual assault (notably, Sendrow specifically stated that she did not consent), Sendrow felt that the magazine took her story and others out of context and omitted key details, “which was exactly what we didn’t want to happen.” Her assault was “more violent than what [the Philadelphia magazine reporter] wrote. The way he made it seem was very small in comparison.” Sendrow added that she received “very threatening” messages from her attacker days after the assault, which the Philadelphia story hadn’t included. She had hoped that talking to the media would in part help other survivors by showing they no longer had to be afraid and that their stories couldn’t be diminished, and was frustrated when that was “exactly what [Will’s column] did.”

Sendrow also vehemently rejected Will’s claim that survivors might have a coveted status. “I absolutely have not received any privileges from sexual assault. [Will] has clearly never experienced the fear of sexual assault,” she said. “He clearly has no idea how hard it is to sleep, to walk around, thinking at any moment this person that you live down the hall from could come out.”

She saw a counselor and was diagnosed with PTSD following the assault, she said, which “is pretty common for a lot of survivors I know. It did not help my grades, it did not help my social status. I lost a lot of friends … No one tells you, ‘oh you’re a survivor, let me give you a free lunch.’ No one gives a shit about you. What benefit could we possibly get? Sometimes I feel like I can’t have a real relationship because someone might touch me in the wrong way. How is that okay?”

Sendrow told Media Matters she received violent threats after the Philadelphia article was published. One threat said that she and the other women quoted in the story “deserved to be stoned.” Others said “I should be raped again, or ‘really’ raped, that I was a slut, you know, using my sexual background to say I deserved it.”

For Sendrow, most upsetting about Will’s column was that “he was politicizing sexual assault, he’s a conservative columnist, but why should sexual assault be political?” She criticized him for putting the term sexual assault in quotation marks, implying doubt in survivors’ stories, and for using her personal story to “describe the experience of all survivors, and [making] it seem very small.” She added, “it was mostly upsetting because I don’t feel like survivors’ voices were heard.”

Will’s full column, Sendrow said, made it feel “as if women don’t have a voice. Anything bad that happens to a woman, it doesn’t matter, because we’re the ones who are at fault. And this is already what we’re told every single day,” she concluded. “We’re raised all our lives to think this isn’t an issue. But this is an issue. This is why people are triggered, this is why people have PTSD. People will go through their lives thinking rape culture isn’t real.”

In the end, Sendrow wondered whether Will would have been able to similarly dismiss her story of assault if it came from someone close to him.

“What if [Will’s] daughter — I don’t know if he has a daughter — but would he say to her, that this didn’t happen?” she asked. “If she came to him crying, or even not crying, but if she came to him and told him this story, would he just say it wasn’t real?”


Celebrating Checks and Balances

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Celebrating Checks and Balances
Scott Rasmussen, RealClearPolitics
Last week, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling against the president’s right to get around Congress by making recess appointments. This is frustrating to President Barack Obama at the moment and will undoubtedly aggravate some future Republican president. The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin wrote that this ruling will “make the government function less well, less justly, and less democratically than it does now.” Disappointed, he concluded, “maybe the problem isn’t the Justices; it’s the Constitution.” Other unanimous decisions protected…

What Your Own Eyes Should Tell Ypu
Richard Cohen, RealClearPolitics
A friend of mine worked for a small-town newspaper years ago and had to write the weather report. The county fair was approaching but the prediction was for rain. So the editors, fearing the wrath of local merchants, ordered my friend to change “rainy” to “sunny.” That was the newspaper’s policy. It has since been adopted by much of the Republican Party. It is a stunning thing, when you think about it — GOP conservatives adopting a position of studied ignorance or, to put it more humorously, a version of what Chico Marx said in “Duck Soup”: “Well, who you gonna believe, me or your own…


Passport boss set to face MPs again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Passport boss set to face MPs again
MPs are to recall the head of the Passport Office for a second round of questioning about delays in processing applications.

VIDEO: PMQs zoo behaviour ‘turns off’ viewers
Mumsnet’s Justine Roberts and former deputy speaker Nigel Evans on calls to reform the weekly PMQs sessions.

Lawyer seeks shorter Coulson sentence
Andy Coulson did not know the phone hacking going while he was News of the World editor was illegal and this should mitigate the sentence he faces, his lawyer has told the Old Bailey.


Republicans propose halting foreign aid until border surge stops

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Republicans propose halting foreign aid until border surge stops
Rep. Randy Weber said it’s time to “hold our southern neighbors accountable.”


World Briefing: Colombia: Suspects in Killing of DEA Agent Handed to U.S.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

World Briefing: Colombia: Suspects in Killing of DEA Agent Handed to U.S.
Seven Colombians accused of involvement in the stabbing death of a United States drug agent were handed over to American authorities on Tuesday at a police base in Bogotá.



Tourists on Trial in a North Korea Angry at the U.S.
North Korea’s decision to try two Americans could reflect the isolated nation’s frustration that the United States is ignoring it, experts said.



Belgium 2, United States 1: World Cup 2014: Belgium Eliminates Team U.S.A.
The United States was eliminated from the World Cup by Belgium despite a memorable performance from goalkeeper Tim Howard.


Fox News Host: Hillary Clinton Needs Support From ‘Beyoncé Voters’ Who Want Free Birth Control

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Fox News Host: Hillary Clinton Needs Support From ‘Beyoncé Voters’ Who Want Free Birth Control

“They depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands.”

The post Fox News Host: Hillary Clinton Needs Support From ‘Beyoncé Voters’ Who Want Free Birth Control appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Beyoncé wants your vote.

Beyoncé wants your vote.

CREDIT: Sony

Discussing Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on Hobby Lobby, Fox News host Jesse Watters suggested the presumptive presidential candidate is simply attempting to win over single female voters who want the government to pay for their birth control. He referred to that voting bloc as the “Beyoncé voters.”

Appearing as the male guest on Outnumbered, the new daytime talk show on Fox News that pits a group of female hosts against one man, Watters dismissed the concerns that Clinton raised about the low-wage workers at Hobby Lobby who will now have to foot the full cost of some types of contraception. “She’s acting like Hobby Lobby all of a sudden is telling these women that work for them to wear a burka or something like that,” he said.

“But I’m not surprised — this is her bread and butter, how she’ll try to win the White House,” Watters continued, in comments that were first reported by Buzzfeed. “She needs the single ladies vote. I call them ‘the Beyoncé voters’ — the single ladies. Obama won single ladies by 76 percent last time, and made up about a quarter of the electorate. They depend on government because they’re not depending on their husbands. They need contraception, health care, and they love to talk about equal pay.”

Watch it:

Watters is relying on the common conservative assumption that insurance coverage for contraception is a frivolous government handout for promiscuous women. At the beginning of this year, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R) made headlines for distilling this argument into a comparison between the government and a sugar daddy, saying Democrats want women to think they’re “helpless” without access to copay-free birth control.

Linking Beyoncé to sex is nothing new for right-wing pundits, either. In April, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said that the singer’s “raunchy” new album is encouraging black girls to get pregnant out of wedlock. Of course, Beyoncé is responsible for the chart topper “Single Ladies,” and that may be why Watters used her name — but conservatives’ constant fixation on her sexual morals still doesn’t make much sense, considering the fact that she’s half of one of pop culture’s most famous marriages.

Although Watters suggests that women could simply get married and rely on their husbands to pay for birth control, one of the goals of the Affordable Care Act is to eliminate this gender imbalance in health costs altogether. By requiring employers to offer birth control coverage without charging an extra co-pay, the health law is trying to prevent women from paying substantially more for their preventative health care simply because of their gender. If birth control costs are no longer a burden on female employees, there will be no need for either them or their spouse to pick up that extra tab.

The post Fox News Host: Hillary Clinton Needs Support From ‘Beyoncé Voters’ Who Want Free Birth Control appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Everything You Need To Know Before The USA’s Match Against Belgium

The players, factors, and questions to watch as the Americans try to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

The post Everything You Need To Know Before The USA’s Match Against Belgium appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Workbook5
Fabian Johnson

Fabian Johnson

CREDIT: AP

The United States and Belgium will meet Tuesday in the 2014 World Cup’s round-of-16, when the Americans will try to equal their deepest run in modern history (apologies to the 1930 U.S. Men’s National Team, which finished second but competed with just 13 teams).

On paper and the pitch, the Americans are an underdog against Belgium, which boasts a lineup full of talent that plays in top European leagues and was anointed as a pre-tournament dark horse months before this Cup began. Belgium will have (at least) the two best players on the field in winger Eden Hazard and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and they will come in with the confidence of knocking off the U.S. twice in friendlies since the last World Cup.

But there’s a sense that this American team has some momentum — and maybe something even stronger — on their side too. After all, the U.S. advanced even after losing striker Jozy Altidore to injury just 20 minutes into the first match, even after Michael Bradley wasn’t his best for three consecutive matches, even after letting the Portugal match slip away and losing to Germany. The Americans got an important goal from substitute John Anthony Brooks and an important contribution on another goal from DeAndre Yedlin, two guys few analysts thought would make this trip; they got a star-quality strike from Jermaine Jones, who hadn’t scored for his country in two years.

Combine that with the possible return of Altidore to today’s lineup and potential absences of some of Belgium’s top defenders, and there is certainly a feeling of confidence around this team that wasn’t necessarily there heading into this match in 2010, and there’s a feeling along with it that maybe this team is just going to do whatever it needs to do to win another match and equal the squad’s best World Cup result in the modern era.

Here are a few players, factors, and match-ups to watch if the Americans are going to have a chance:

Fabian Johnson: Johnson has been among the Americans’ best players so far, playing solid defense at right back and making long, attacking runs up the right side to contribute to the offense. Johnson has a chance to exploit the fact that Belgium doesn’t play any traditional outside defenders, but he’ll have to be careful: Belgium’s best attacker, the aforementioned Hazard, plays largely on Johnson’s side too, so the German-American’s forward runs could leave a shaky back line exposed to Hazard’s aggressiveness. Johnson has been great since the U.S. began its tune-up matches. If the U.S. is going to win today, he’ll need to be even better on both sides of the ball.

Jozy Altidore: Altidore has missed two and a half games so far, and his fitness is one of the biggest factors coming into this match. Can Altidore start and play a full game? Is he healthy enough to come off the bench if the U.S. needs a late goal? If he is, will he be the Jozy Altidore that put two goals home against Nigeria in the final tun-up match and gave the American attack a cutting edge throughout the qualifying campaign, but didn’t score once in the six months in between? And if he doesn’t play, can the U.S. figure out a way to bolster their attack to help Clint Dempsey up front? As always when it comes to Altidore, there are nothing but questions.

Michael Bradley: It seems a given to say that Bradley, the USMNT’s stalwart midfielder, needs to be better than he has been if the U.S. is going to advance, but Bradley hasn’t been nearly as bad as he’s been painted. No player in the entire World Cup has covered more ground so far than Bradley, and he was maybe a quarter-inch from a goal against Portugal that would have made everyone feel differently. Bradley has done a little bit of everything so far, and on his Soccer Morning podcast this morning, Jason Davis posited that perhaps Bradley’s problem is that he’s been asked to do too much. Bradley is at his best when he’s sitting back as a rock in the midfield, distributing the ball forward and making the occasional attacking run. As good as Jermaine Jones has been moving forward from the midfield, Bradley may be able to return to more of that role, though there has been little indication of that thus far. For all of the concern, he is still the best player on this roster, and the U.S. will need him to be exactly that if they want to be playing another match on Saturday.

How will the U.S. attack? The Americans found success sitting back against Ghana and relying on a late set piece goal, something they had to do when Altidore went down. They found success attacking Portugal and staying on their front foot through most of the match. They didn’t find much forward success at all against Germany. With most of the pressure shifted to Belgium, will the Americans take advantage of that by attacking them as they did Portugal? Or will they sit back and hope to score on counterattacks and set pieces? Both carry advantages and risks, and which approach they choose will depend largely on if Altidore can go and who manager Jurgen Klinsmann decides to put around Clint Dempsey if he can’t.

Who starts in defense? Coming into the World Cup, the biggest question facing this American team was the back line, and specifically, the two center backs. Matt Besler has been sufficient in his role in one of them even while battling injury, but Geoff Cameron, who started opposite Besler in the first two matches, made crucial mistakes on both of Portugal’s goals. Omar Gonzalez, who started next to Besler throughout qualifying but is an inconsistent center back himself, replaced Cameron against Germany and was (surprisingly) solid. Cameron is the better of the two players on paper — he starts, albeit at right back, in the English Premier League — but Gonzalez is the hot hand. Given Johnson’s propensity to go forward and the relative weakness of Damarcus Beasley’s defensive left side, Besler and his partner will have to be good to keep Belgium from peppering goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Luckily, the Belgians are facing their own questions on the back line, with Thomas Vermaelen out due to injury and captain Vincent Kompany possibly out — or at least hobbled — with an injury of his own. Plus, Belgium starts traditional center backs at all four defensive positions, meaning Johnson, Jones, and whoever else starts in the midfield could exploit the Red Devils’ defense. In other words, this one could have plenty of goals, or at least no shortage of chances.

The post Everything You Need To Know Before The USA’s Match Against Belgium appeared first on ThinkProgress.


Wage Theft, Dangerous Conditions and Discrimination: Inside New York’s Food Industry

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Wage Theft, Dangerous Conditions and Discrimination: Inside New York’s Food Industry
From: Michelle Chen

A new report reveals the vast majority of workers are immigrants and people of color who earn about $8 less than the industry average. 

We Denounced the Israel Lobby Back in 1976
From: Back Issues

Early warnings of an American policy in thrall to the Israeli right.

From Pride to Freedom Summer to ‘Aycock’ Hall, Students Mass for Racial Justice
From: StudentNation

Across the country, the summer is heating up with youth-led direct action.