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Archive for October 10th, 2014

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was attacked by Taliban militants for promoting education for girls, will share the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian campaigner against exploitation of children. Yousafzai, 17, defied the Taliban in her town of Mingora in Swat Valley, near the volatile western frontier dividing Pakistan and Afghanistan. In October 2012, Taliban militiamen boarded a school bus she was on, singled her out and shot her in the left side of the head. Yousafzai survived and in July 2013 addressed the United Nations, telling delegates that the Taliban “thought that bullets would silence us, but they failed. The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life, except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

Minnesota Woman Steals Ambulance
A Minneapolis, Minnesota, woman has been charged after police said she stole an ambulance from a hospital in Illinois, drove it to Rantoul early Friday morning and used its siren to run vehicles off the road on Interstate 57. Samantha Sligar, 27, of Minneapolis, was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle. An ambulance crew was dropping off a patient at Northwest Community Hospital about 4 a.m. Friday and returned to find the ambulance gone. “Up to now 100 percent of the time it’s been where they where they left it,” said Arlington Heights Deputy Fire Chief Pete Ahlman.


Column: Is end in sight of forgiveness for dopers?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Column: Is end in sight of forgiveness for dopers?
PARIS (AP) — Can you forgive and forget? Justin Gatlin asks that of his sport every time he competes.

Army War College revokes Sen. John Walsh’s degree
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Army War College revoked Democratic Sen. John Walsh’s master’s degree after an investigation completed Friday concluded he plagiarized a research paper required to graduate, a college spokeswoman said.


Army War College revokes Sen. John Walsh’s master’s degree

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Army War College revokes Sen. John Walsh’s master’s degree
Walsh, a Democrat from Montana, plagiarized large portions of a thesis submitted to earn the degree

Bill Clinton explains why he can’t always speak his mind
He says it’s great that as a former president he can say whatever he wants – most of the time

Voter ID laws in Texas, Wisconsin blocked by the courts
A federal judge strikes down the Texas law; Supreme Court blocks similar law in Wisconsin


School District Responds To Fox News’ Misinformation About Transgender Student Recommendations

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

School District Responds To Fox News’ Misinformation About Transgender Student Recommendations

A Nebraska school district superintendent responded to Fox News’ inaccurate reporting about the district’s recommendations for accommodating transgender and gender non-conforming students.

On October 9, Fox News ran several segments attacking the Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) district for distributing informational materials aimed at helping teachers better accommodate transgender and gender non-conforming students. The materials included recommendations that teachers stop gender-based bullying and avoid using gendered phrases like “ladies and gentlemen” when referring to students. Instead, teachers could use phrases like “campers,” “readers,” or classroom nicknames like “purple penguins.”

Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson falsely accused the school district of “banning” the use of gendered language, and a Fox News report echoed the claims of one parent who believes the school district was using “taxpayer dollars” to promote a gender-neutral agenda.

Following Fox News’ inaccurate reporting, LPS Superintendent Steve Joel announced a press conference to discuss the training materials, according to the Lincoln Journal Star:

At the press conference, Joel aimed “to set the record straight” and correct the “recent confusion and misinformation” caused by inaccurate reporting about the training materials. From Watchdog.org:

[A]fter three FOX News shows derided Lincoln Public Schools’ gender sensitivity training on Thursday, the superintendent called a press conference, and with his school board seated behind him, clarified what happened without backing down.

[…]

“Our teachers are allowed to use boys and girls in the classroom, and they do so in schools every day across the community,” he said in the message to parents. “We are telling our staff to be sensitive to the needs of all students, and those with gender identity issues are particularly vulnerable to bullying and suicide.”

During his press conference, Joel called it “regrettable” and “truly unfortunate” that the school district has had to waste so much time and energy answering questions and fielding calls about the training on gender inclusiveness used during summer teacher training at Irving Middle School, and possibly other LPS schools. 


A Tar Heel Rebellion Against Reaction

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

A Tar Heel Rebellion Against Reaction
E.J. Dionne, RealClearPolitics
BURLINGTON, N.C. — The clergy gathered in the second-floor conference room at the First Baptist Church here were pondering whether this midterm election might be different from other midterm elections. The five African-American pastors and bishops represented diverse theological traditions, but all were profoundly unhappy over what North Carolina’s ultra-conservative state government in Raleigh had done to reduce access to the ballot box, cut education spending, and turn back money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The irony, said the Rev. Dray Bland, pastor of First Baptist…

Look Who’s Data Mining Your Toddlers
Michelle Malkin, RealClearPolitics
Attention, parents: Have your little ones been subjected to “TS Gold” in school yet? If you care about student privacy, data mining and classroom intrusions, you might want to start asking questions and protecting your children now before it’s too late. What’s happening here in Colorado with this onerous testing regime is happening everywhere. Informed families and teachers from all parts of the political spectrum agree: It’s a Big Government/Big Business “gold” rush you don’t want to join. “TS Gold” stands for Teaching Strategies Gold. This “school readiness assessment system” was mandated…

Washington Cannot Stop Progress
Scott Rasmussen, RealClearPolitics
In 1913, an entrepreneur “said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years.” For that accurate assessment of reality, he was prosecuted for stock fraud. A U.S. District Attorney claimed that, “based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public … has been persuaded to buy stock in his company.” Among other things, this highlights the old adage that behind every great idea are a hundred people saying it can’t be done. It also helps explain why, even though the digital…

S.D. Senate Race Tightens Amid Green-Card Scandal
Adam O’Neal, RealClearPolitics
During a debate this past summer, South Dakota Democratic Senate candidate Rick Weiland accidentally acknowledged Republican Mike Rounds — the former governor and his leading opponent — as a “soon-to-be” senator. The crowd laughed, and Weiland immediately caught his mistake. He took the verbal flub in stride, joking, “That’s a good gaffe!” Though Weiland clearly misspoke, his words seemed understandable at the time. Virtually every major electoral forecaster had described the three-way race in South Dakota — along with likely lopsided contests in West Virginia…


Greens expect record conference

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Greens expect record conference
The Scottish Greens say they expect their largest-ever conference as they begin to gather in Edinburgh.

VIDEO: What businesses want from Europe
British Chambers of Commerce views on trading and exporting to Europe and UK relations with the EU.


8 Truths About Violence Against Girls, Who’s Fighting It And What You Can Do

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

8 Truths About Violence Against Girls, Who’s Fighting It And What You Can Do
Saturday marks the third annual International Day of the Girl Child, and the UN is focusing this year’s advocacy efforts on preventing acts of violence against girls.

The sensitivities around the issue make it such that we may not even know the true figures. Experts point out that girls are often too afraid to report the crimes committed against them, or they may not even know that they’ve been violated. On this advocacy day, activists aim to bring these to crimes to light to more effectively gauge how to prevent them from happening.

Here are statistics that remind us why more awareness and solutions are necessary and what you can do to help.

125 Million Girls Have Been Subjected To Female Genital Mutilation

female genital mutilation crying

While female genital mutilation is on the decline worldwide, more than 125 million girls and women alive today in Africa and the Middle East have been subjected to a practice that offers no medical benefits, only potential harm, according to the World Health Organization.

However, those figures don’t even account for the cases in the U.S. and the UK.

According to nonprofit Sanctuary for Families, FGM cases in America jumped by 35 percent between 1990 and 2000. Experts estimate that up 137,000 women and girls living in England and Wales could have undergone female genital mutilation, according to the BBC.

To help put an end to FGM, British Prime Minister David Cameron will begin holding parents accountable if their children are cut. To get a better grasp of how to tackle the issue, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will conduct a major study of the prevalence of FGM in America.

Who’s Helping And What You Can Do:
In 2009, Sanctuary For Families established the Coalition for the Empowerment of African Women and Girls. The initiative reaches out to girls at risk, educates communities and professionals about the practice and pushed for a law to criminalize against transporting U.S. girls abroad to be cut. Find out more about the organization and what you can do here.

135 Million Girls Are Married Before 18

child bride africa

According to a World Vision study released last year, 13.5 million girls have been married before they turned 18. Girls who are subjected to early marriage are more likely to experience domestic violence, forced sexual relations, poor reproductive health, and lower levels of education, according to the report.

Who’s Helping And What You Can Do:
World Vision, a humanitarian organization that helps underserved kids lead fulfilling and healthy lives, is working to stem child marriage and educate girls. Find out more about the organization and how you can involved here.

110 Million Girls Are Subjected To Forced Labor

world day against child labor girl

An estimated 168 million children are forced to work, often under dangerous circumstances with little, if any, compensation, according to the International Labour Organization.

According to a 1995 World Bank study, 110 million girls were involved in forced labor.

Oftentimes, girls are expected to start working at younger ages, further reducing their chances of pursuing an education, according to UNICEF.

And the U.S. is hardly immune to this practice.

Children in American are at a medium risk of getting forced to work, particularly because of an exemption that allows kids to work in agriculture. For example, thousands of American children work long hours under hazardous conditions on tobacco farms, according to Human Rights Watch.

Who’s Helping And What You Can Do:
Inspired by the life and death of a child slave, Free the Children now works to liberate young people from poverty, exploitation and abuse by partnering with schools and families. Learn how you can get involved here.

31 Million Girls Are Out Of School

boko haram kidnapping

Across the globe, 31 million girls aren’t entering the classroom, and one of the reasons is the prevalence of targeted attacks against schoolgirls, according to UNICEF.

Such risks have been made repeatedly clear as of late.

In April, terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped about 300 Nigerian girls from a secondary school and threatened to marry them off and sell them at the market. In 2012, Malala Yousufzai, a vocal advocate for girl’s rights, was nearly killed when she was shot in the head while on her way home from school in Pakistan.

Who’s Helping And What You Can Do:
After recovering from the brutal ordeal, Yousufzai established the Malala Fund, which partners with local, grassroots organizations to help develop educational programs around the world. Find out how you can get involved here.

One In Three Adolescent Wives Have Been Domestically Abused

child bride africa

Close to half of all girls thinks a husband is justified in occasionally hitting or beating his wife. And nearly one in three married adolescent girls has been a victim of emotional, physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by their partners, according to a recent UNICEF study.

Who’s Helping And What You Can Do:
Working with more than 400 civil society organizations in more than 60 countries, Girls Not Brides raises awareness about the injustices child brides face and calls for laws, policies and programs to protect girls to put an end to the practice. Find out more about the organization and how you can get involved here.

Millions Of Girls Are Sold Into Slavery

child bride africa

More than 29 million people live in slavery, and a disproportionate number of victims are women and girls.

An estimated 80 percent of the 800,000 people trafficked each year are women and 79 percent are trafficked for sexual exploitation, according to UNIFEM, an affiliate of UN Women.

Who’s Helping And What You Can Do:
By working with government leaders and protecting victim’s rights, the Polaris Project disrupts the conditions that allow human trafficking to thrive. Find out more about the organization and how you can get involved here.

Millions Of Girls Are Vulnerable Because They Don’t Have Access To Toilets

india women toilets

One billion people still defecate in the open, a practice that not only leads to physical health risks, but also puts women and girls in harm’s way. Typically, out of shame, females who don’t have access to toilets wait until it gets dark to relieve themselves, but that makes them more vulnerable to assault.

Last May, two teenage girls were gang raped and hanged from a mango tree in northern India after going into fields to relieve themselves, according to the Associated Press.

Who’s Helping And What You Can Do:
To help more women and girls gain access to sanitation, Water.org, co-founded by actor Matt Damon, developed a program that offers microfinancing to communities in need of toilets. To date, 91 percent of borrowers are women and 99 percent of the loans have been repaid. Find out more about Water.org and how you can get involved here.

120 Million Girls Are Victims of Sexual Violence

teen crying


An estimated one in 10 girls under the age of 20 — about 120 million — worldwide has experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts, according to a recent UNICEF report that analyzed such crimes in 190 countries. But those figures may actually be even higher, since sexual abuse is grossly underreported.

Who’s Helping And What You Can Do:
UNICEF works with grassroots organizations and governments to help protect children against violence. Find out more about the #ENDviolence initiative here and how you can get involved here.

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Listening Post: Recent White House Memoirs Target Lame Duck Over a Potential Successor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Listening Post: Recent White House Memoirs Target Lame Duck Over a Potential Successor
In the growing crop of tell-alls by former Obama officials, Hillary Rodham Clinton has emerged largely unscathed — proof that it is easier to kick a sitting second-term president than a potential future one.



Some Chinese Leaders Claim U.S. and Britain Are Behind Hong Kong Protests
Leaders of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong deny assertions that foreign governments are involved in their movement.



Officials Admit a ‘Defeat’ by Ebola in Sierra Leone
The decision to help families treat patients at home signifies a significant shift in the struggle against the rampaging disease.



Political Rally in Pakistan Ends in Deadly Stampede
The government and the party of the opposition politician Imran Khan blamed each other for the disaster, which killed at least seven people.




Women In Tech Explain Why A Tech Conference For Women Went Awry And How To Make It Better

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Women In Tech Explain Why A Tech Conference For Women Went Awry And How To Make It Better

After heavy criticism for having a “tone deaf” advice to women on tackling sexism in tech, top executives get a “do over,” opting to listen instead of dole out advice.

The post Women In Tech Explain Why A Tech Conference For Women Went Awry And How To Make It Better appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Super Bowl Advertising GoDaddy

CREDIT: AP Photo/Go Daddy

Thousands of women in tech gathered in Phoenix this week for one of the world’s biggest tech conferences, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. But this year, the conference was eviscerated on social media because of a “male allies” panel that many women found patronizing and sexist. The panel, which featured top tech executives, attracted such heavy criticism that the group did a “re-do” session the next day with much more promising results.

The “Male Allies Plenary Panel” Wednesday faced strong public backlash after featured panelists — GoDaddy’s CEO Blake Irving, Google senior vice president, Alan Eustace, Facebook’s chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer, and Intuit CTO Tayloe Stansbury — told women the best way to deal with workplace discrimination was to work harder, speak up and lean in. Conference goers and spectators were already wary of the panel. Some women in tech even opted not to go when it was announced that the CEO of GoDaddy would participate, given the company’s controversial history of airing ad campaigns featuring scantily clad women with plunging necklines.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella added fuel to the fire when he told the conference women shouldn’t ask for a raises, and that, like karma, it would all even out in the end. Nadella later retracted his statement.

But criticism of the panel’s over-emphasis on their companies’ diversity efforts and reluctance to confront the alienating “brogrammer” culture gave way to a “do over” with all of the original panelists except Stansbury from Intuit.

Conference-goers derided the original panel session Wednesday for axing the anticipated Q&A session, which to many, felt like women’s voices were being silenced similar to how they are at work.

“By applauding their attendance, giving the CEOs a voice, and silencing the voice of women at the panel, the intelligent, dedicated leadership of GHC made a serious error in judgement,” said one GHC attendee, a veteran tech consultant and analyst who asked to remain anonymous in an interview with ThinkProgress.

“For those of us that have been in tech for over 25 years, we have been hearing about inequity or gender bias for a long time,” she said. “Work harder, ask for more, etc. are worn phrases and sound bites…Having privileged CEOs who have not listened to these women’s stories, while perhaps well intentioned, speak about what women should do was belittling, condescending, and ignorant.”

Eventually, the panelists seemed to get the message loud and clear, when Eustace jumped in on a Twitter discussion about the panel and suggested they try again. This time, instead of talking, the executives listened to women talk about their work experiences and offer suggestions on how to mend the gender disparity.

“They saw the feedback, and acted on it, and came and listened,” Cate Huston, a software engineer who used to work for a major tech company, told ThinkProgress. “The room was full, lots of women spoke, and it was pretty incredible.”

The panel’s re-do seemed to mark a change in how to handle diversity concerns. “In the work environment, these concerns typically go [to human resources],” Huston said. But the problem is “HR is not there to protect the employee, but to protect the company from legal liability.”

The lack of professional support was a major theme in the second session. Women testified that they didn’t think it was safe to report their concerns to HR for fear of retaliation, Huston said.

Professional repercussions are a real concern for women and people of color suffering from discrimination in the workplace. Programmer and researcher Ashe Dryden found that of women in tech who reported sexual harassment, 23 out of 25 said they were fired within three months of reporting the incident. Moreover, 56 percent of women in tech leave the industry within the first 10 years of their career.

Recent diversity reports from tech giants including Twitter, Yahoo, and Google have affirmed the industry’s stereotypes, highlighting that the vast majority of employees are white men — even in non-tech jobs. Women applying for tech jobs are often discouraged or simply turned away by tech companies because it’s assumed they aren’t qualified or don’t “fit” the culture. Once hired, women often face gender harassment, discrimination in the tech workplace, and significantly lower pay.

Women and African-Americans are also most likely to leave tech and science jobs. Women are also frequently passed over for leadership roles, with only half of American tech companies having women on their executive boards and women making up less than 20 percent of executives and managers at Silicon Valley’s top ten firms.

The fallout from the male allies panel only indicates a first step in fixing Silicon Valley’s growing diversity gap.

“What they did well is that they showed up to this conference full of women,” Huston said. “They all have good intentions, but good intentions aren’t a silver bullet.”

There’s still work to be done. Going forward, tech companies should follow the panel’s lead and “listen to the actual criticism” and push forward even when there’s a misstep.

“If you screw up, listen, and show that you are sorry you build a far stronger relationship,” Huston said. “Often people duck criticism and get defensive. These guys could have ignored it…but they didn’t, and I think they earned a lot of respect as a result.”

The key to progress is changing the mindset through the ranks and making mid-level managers more sensitive to, and better equipped to deal with and recognize bias in the workplace. But that may only come with time.

“I don’t think things are going to change anytime soon,” Huston said. “I think it’s going to be very gradual, the attrition numbers are going to drop very slowly — if at all — and a lot of talented and hardworking women are not going to survive the industry long enough to see that change in person. But, I’m a cynic. I’d love to be wrong.”

The post Women In Tech Explain Why A Tech Conference For Women Went Awry And How To Make It Better appeared first on ThinkProgress.


The Mitch McConnell/Allison Lundergan Grimes Kentucky Horse Race Update

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 10th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Mitch McConnell/Allison Lundergan Grimes Kentucky Horse Race Update
From: Leslie Savan

After slipping in the polls and getting outspent by McConnell forces two to one, Grimes surprised everyone last week by surging in the latest Bluegrass Poll.

Former Chicago Bears GM: The League Has Ignored ‘Hundreds and Hundreds’ of Domestic Violence Cases
From: Dave Zirin

If there is any justice, these revelations by longtime general manager Jerry Angelo will lead to an investigation and the firing of Roger Goodell.

Voter Suppression Backfires in Texas and Wisconsin
From: Ari Berman

Two of the country’s strictest voter ID laws are blocked by the courts. 

‘The New York Times’ Wants Gary Webb to Stay Dead
From: Greg Grandin

Many journalists went after Webb, destroying his reputation and driving him out of the profession and into a suicidal depression. Now they’re at it again.