Friday, May 31, 2013

Conservative website tweets, deletes ‘HNIC’ reference (The Grio)

The conservative website The Daily Caller suffered a social media fail on Thursday, when the site’s Twitter account featured a shorthand for the n-word.

Al Sharpton Interviews Mark O' Mara About Martin/Zimmerman Trial

Rev. Al Sharpton on Thursday interviewed the attorney representing George Zimmerman, who is charged with second degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. The interview appeared on Sharpton’s MSNBC program, Politics Nation.

El Salvador Will Allow Dying Woman To End Her Pregnancy: ‘What Matters Is To Protect Beatriz’s Life’

Beatriz, the 22-year-old El Salvadoran woman who needs an emergency abortion in order to survive, will now be allowed to end her pregnancy with a Caesarean section. On Thursday, El Salvador’s health minister approved the C-section procedure for the dying woman, whose health has increasingly worsened throughout her pregnancy.

Obama To Call On Congress To Avoid Doubling Student Loan Interest Rates

President Obama will today launch a campaign aimed at preventing interest rates on federal student loans from doubling at the start of July, gathering college students at the White House in an effort to challenge Congress to prevent the rate increase. The White House has already re-upped its “don’t double my rate” campaign, which helped force Congress’ hand in passing a temporary fix in 2012, on social media.

Conservatives Condemn Gender-Bending ‘SheZow’ Cartoon For Promoting ‘Gender Confusion’

The Australian kids cartoon SheZow will debut this Saturday here in the United States on The Hub (formerly Discovery Kids). It features a 12-year-old boy who finds a magic ring that transforms him into a legendary crime-fighting superhero, SheZow, who happens to be a girl. Focus on the Family is not happy about this gender-bending message for kids, as explained by the organization’s resident ex-gay, Jeff Johnston:

Thanks To "Obama care's", Young Adults And Hospitals Saved $147 Million In 2011 Alone

An estimated 3.1 million young Americans who would have lacked health coverage gained access to it thanks to an Obamacare provision that allows adults up to age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that shift saved young people from paying — and hospitals from absorbing — $147 million in high medical bills for treating catastrophic conditions such as broken bones, poisonings, and traumatic brain injuries in 2011 alone.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Five Mindsets That Hinder Black Women From Relationship Success

A Black woman who desires to be connected with a Black man intimately deserves to be connected to one who has the ability to provide for her, protect her, and profess and communicate with her on a level that is mature and balanced.

The Way China May Have Just Changed The Climate Game

Last week, the Chinese government made a critical move toward placing a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide it would emit. That’s a significant decision especially when seen in context of the local emissions permit trading schemes being tried out around the country. Depending on how tight the cap is, this could be a big deal in its own right: China is the world’s largest and fastest-growing emitter. Its citizens are already suffering as a consequence.

Fox News Commentator Says Women Should Stick To Raising Children

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson earned himself a lot of detractors Wednesday night when, responding to the news that a record number of families rely on women’s income, he argued on Fox News that it was “natural” for men to take the “dominant role” and that women being the primary breadwinner for families is “hurting our children, and it’s going to have impact for generations to come.”

Google Will Post Detailed Nutritional Information For More Than 1,000 Foods Starting Today

Wondering how much that fat is in that burrito? Google wants to make it a little easier to find out.

Salvadoran Woman Has Been Denied A Life-Saving Abortion Even Though Her Fetus Is Missing Its Brain

El Salvador’s Supreme Court has decided to deny a 22-year-old woman a lifesaving abortion, ruling against making a medical exception to the conservative nation’s stringent abortion ban. Without an abortion, the woman will likely die — along with her nonviable fetus, which is missing its brain.

Illegal Strain Of Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Wheat Found On Oregon Farm

Genetically modified wheat that was never approved for sale has inexplicably turned up in a field in Oregon. A farmer found the crop when it survived a dousing of Roundup weedkiller. When he took it to a lab to be tested, the wheat was revealed to be an illegal strain, genetically modified to resist pesticides by Monsanto, the biotech corporation that owns the patents to most of the staple crops in the country.

With Stand Your Ground Laws Still Standing, Two Alabama Shooters Escape Liability

Earlier this month, a 21-year-old African American approached the home of his step-father’s ex-girlfriend in Jefferson County, Alabama, and ended up dead. The woman who lived in the home said she shot him out of fear for her safety, and as a result, no charges will be filed against her under Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law — the same law that gained notoriety after the tragic killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

South Side Shootings In Chicago: 56-Year-Old Among 4 Killed, 11 More Hurt In Overnight Shootings

A 56-year-old woman who was found in the South Shore neighborhood with a single gunshot wound was among four people killed in a violent 12-hour span that left 11 more injured in shootings Wednesday night.

U.S. GDP In Q1 Revised Lower As Austerity Measures Bite

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - A drop in government spending dragged more on the U.S. economy than initially thought in the first three months of the year, a sign of increasing pain from Washington's austerity drive.

Defense Attorney Calls Marine Accused Of Sexual Assault ‘The Victim’

A U.S. Marine accused of sexually assaulting one woman and carrying on a relationship with another in violation of Marine protocol maintains his innocence, with his defense lawyer calling him “the victim” in the case.

Exxon CEO: ‘What Good Is It To Save The Planet If Humanity Suffers?’

At Wednesday’s meeting for ExxonMobil shareholders in Dallas, CEO Rex Tillerson told those assembled that an economy that runs on oil is here to stay, and cutting carbon emissions would do no good.

St. Louis Police Shoot Black Honor Student 25 Times

Protesters rallied in St. Louis, MO on Wednesday over the death of 25-year-old Cary Ball Jr, who was shot 25 times by police officers last month. Police say Ball refused to pull over for a traffic stop, eventually crashed into a parked car, and started running. According to police, Ball pointed a semi-automatic handgun at the officers, prompting them to open fire.

North Carolina GOP Wants To Tax The Poor Even More Than It Already Does

North Carolina lawmakers are seeking to shift much of the state’s tax burden off its wealthiest citizens and most profitable businesses and onto its low- and middle-income residents. After initially proposing to eliminate the state’s income tax outright, Republicans are instead introducing a flat income tax rate across all earning levels. The proposal unveiled Thursday would also expand the reach of sales taxes in the state, which hits low-income families hardest, and comes on top of the March repeal of a tax credit for 900,000 working families in the state.

Dartmouth Students: University Is Targeting Anti-Rape Protesters Instead Of Rapists

A group of sexual violence prevention activists at Dartmouth is alleging that the college is cracking down on them more seriously than it has on the perpetrators of serious crimes on campus, perhaps because of pressure from Dartmouth’s alumni and administrators.

Tea Party Conference Call Features Threat To Assassinate U.S. Senator Because She Supports Immigration Reform

In a Tea Party-sponsored conference call held on Wednesday night, a participant called for the assassination of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) over her support for immigration reform. Prominent conservative policymakers Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)’s communications director Stephen Miller and Heritage Foundation research fellow Robert Rector also joined the call, hosted by the conservative Eagle Forum group.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

W-H-O: Calls New SARS-Like Virus A ‘Threat To The Entire World’

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday called a new respiratory virus that has cropped up around the globe a “threat to the entire world,” urging the international community to take swift action against it.

California Legislature To Vote On A Domestic Workers Bill Of Rights

The California Assembly is expected to vote on Wednesday on a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, which passed both the Assembly and Senate last year only to be vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

Newborn Baby Survives After Being Flushed And Stuck In Toilet Pipe In China!

In Jinhua, CHINA a newborn baby survived after being flushed down the toilet. The five pound baby boy was discovered in a toilet pipe after neighbors in the apartment heard crying.

Redskins Name Change Being Debated By Members Of Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten members of Congress are urging the Washington Redskins to change their name because it is offensive to many Native Americans.

Were 50 Chicago Schools Closed For An Arena?

CHICAGO—When Chicago Public School officials voted to close 50 schools last week that it said were underutilized and under-performing, it sent a huge blow to parents of displaced students. For months, the anticipation of closure sparked a barrage of rallies and demonstrations across the city.

Obama's Achievements Unheralded Amid 'Scandals'

The Obama administration has made significant - and largely unheralded - progress on the economic front, as well as in important areas of foreign and domestic policy. The Obama administration has a secret life.

Walmart Workers Launch First-Ever 'Prolonged Strikes' Today

Walmart employees are on strike in Miami, Massachusetts and the California Bay Area this morning, kicking off what organizers promise will be the first “prolonged strikes” in the retail giant’s history. The union-backed labor group OUR Walmart says that at least a hundred workers have pledged to join the strikes, and that some workers walking off the job today will stay out at least through June 7, when Walmart holds its annual shareholder meeting near Bentonville, Arkansas.

What We Can Learn From The 12 Returning Shows That Improved Their Ratings In The 2012-2013 Season

Over at Vulture, Josef Adalian has an amazing chart showing the decline of ratings of returning shows during the 2012-2013 television season. There are lessons to be learned from some of the shows that suffered the worst collapses. The Keifer Sutherland drama Touch fell 64 percent in the ratings, a cratering that’s probably due to its disappearance from Fox’s calendars, and relatively unheralded reappearance. NBC’s musical account of the staging of a Broadway show Smash fell 58 percent in the ratings in its second year, a sign that no matter how much network chairman Bob Greenblatt loved his passion project, very few other people shared his enthusiasm.

8 Most Outlandish Moments Of Michele Bachmann’s Time In Congress

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced late Tuesday night, in a recorded video spot, that she will not be seeking reelection in 2014. Bachmann, a Tea Party standard-bearer, has been under Congressional investigation for misuse of funds during her failed 2012 presidential bid, but insisted in her video, “This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into my former presidential campaign… compliance with all rules and regulations was an absolute necessity for my presidential campaign, and I have no reason to believe that that was not the case.”

Record Number Of Families Rely On Women’s Income, Many Of Them Headed By Single Mothers

Four in ten mothers are either the sole or primary source of income for their families, a new record, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Wednesday. That figure nearly tripled since 1960.

6 Ways Colorado Will Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol

Colorado took a major step toward implementing a legal system for dispensing recreational marijuana, as Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed into law on Tuesday several pieces of legislation on the licensing, cultivation, and taxing of marijuana. The ballot initiative to legalize and regulate marijuana passed by voters last November immediately eliminated criminal punishment for possession by those 21-and-over of less than an ounce of pot and for growing up to six plants. But a legal system for dispensing cannabis will not take effect until producers and dispensaries can be licensed. And although Hickenlooper opposed the ballot initiative, his signature signals his willingness to implement the will of the voters. The laws passed Tuesday set up a state licensing authority that will set more specific rules for the marijuana industry, and enable the law to fulfill its stated purpose of regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol to minimize criminal activity while protecting public health. Here are six of the ways it achieves that:

Saudi Writer Urges Twitter Followers To Molest Female Cashiers

A writer in Saudi Arabia prompted his readers to sexually harass women in newly integrated public places, unleashing a war of words in the digital sphere over the country’s views towards women.

Oklahoma Lawmaker Blasts GOP’s War On Women: ‘What Happened To The Republican Party That I Joined?’

In an op-ed published on Wednesday, an Oklahoma Republican sharply criticizes his fellow party members for focusing on enacting unnecessary legislation to limit women’s access to abortion and contraception. “What happened to the Republican Party that I joined?” state Rep. Doug Cox (R) wonders, pointing out that the mounting pile of reproductive restrictions represents a government intrusion into women’s personal lives.

How E.W. Jackson’s ‘Prosperity Gospel’ Could Spell Bad News For Low-Income Virginians

Ever since Virginia’s Republican Party chose E.W. Jackson as its nominee for the Lieutenant Governor’s race last week, media outlets and political commentators have shed light on the pastor-turned-politician’s alarmingly extremist views. But as Americans balk at Jackson’s often vitriolic statements about LGBT people and AIDS victims, there is another side of his public persona that could spell even worse news for low-income Virginians: His theology.

McDonald’s Can’t Convince Customers To Buy Its Salads, So It’s Going Back To Advertising Burgers

Last week, a 9-year-old girl asked McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson why his company continues to market junk food to kids. Thompson assured her that McDonald’s doesn’t sell junk food, pointing out that the chain also offers some healthy options like salads. But that may not be true for long.

50 Million Americans Are Going Hungry As Congress Considers Gutting Food Stamps

As Congress debates exactly how many billions of dollars to cut from the government’s main food assistance program for low-income Americans, a new report finds that the existing safety net has failed millions of people who must constantly worry about how to feed themselves and their families.

Leader of Armed March On Washington Calls For ‘Revolutionary Army’ To Topple Government

Thousands of people signed up to attend an armed march on Washington over the course of the last month. But now, the leader of the march is setting his sights much higher than a single demonstration — he wants his armed followers to help overthrow the American government.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

7 charged in $6B online money laundering case

On Tuesday, federal prosecutors charged seven people with running what might be the largest money-laundering operation in United States history. The case revolves around the online payment company Liberty Reserve, which allegedly helped launder $6 billion for criminals around the world, including drug dealers, credit card fraudsters, and child pornographers.

Walmart Pleads Guilty To Dumping Hazardous Waste, Will Pay $81 Million

SAN FRANCISCO — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will pay $81 million after pleading guilty to criminal charges the company dumped hazardous waste across California, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.

How ["Obama Cares"] Is Encouraging Employers To Cut Wasteful Spending And Promote Workers’ Health

In an effort to cut wasteful U.S. medical spending, certain employers will be scaling back expensive health plans available to their employees and encouraging workers to pursue more preventative and ongoing primary care. The move is being prompted by Obamacare provisions that encourage a more cost-sensitive and efficient approach to Americans’ health care than the status quo.

Zimmerman Lawyer Goes On National TV To Smear Trayvon Martin With Inadmissible Evidence

A Florida judge ruled Tuesday that George Zimmerman will not able to use 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s school records, texts, and prior marijuana use in court for the second-degree murder trial for killing the teen last year, which begins June 10.

When Black Kids Want To Learn and the World Tells Them 'No' (The Nation)

In light of the recent news out of Chicago, I think we should take another look at first lady Michelle Obama’s remarks from her commencement address at Bowie State University. Particularly this part:

Crispus Attucks and the forgotten black soldiers of the American Revolution (The Grio)

Memorial Day may be more about barbecues and blowout sales than honoring our deceased veterans these days, but there are many reasons for African-Americans in particular to take pause.

13 Companies Drop Facebook Advertising Over Domestic Violence Content

Last week, activists launched a campaign that urged companies to boycott Facebook advertising because the social media network allows users to post images of domestic violence against women, while banning advertisements about women’s health. More than a dozen companies have pulled their advertising as a result, including online bank Nationwide UK, Nissan UK, and J Street.

Local Charities Speak Out On GOP’s Effort To Slash Food Stamps

One of New Jersey’s largest food banks is eyeing congressional efforts to cut two million Americans from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) with concern. While proponents of the cuts often argue that food banks and other charitable food distribution operations will step into the breach as government shrinks its aid to hungry Americans, officials at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey say that’s not how the safety net works.

Here’s What It’ll Take To Turn Texas Blue

Could the great state of Texas turn blue? That’s a question that’s been debated recently in the blogosphere, sparked by a Democratic move (“Battleground Texas”) to turn loose the data-mining and mobilization techniques that worked so well for President Obama in 2012 on the Lone Star state. Republicans, as they should, certainly seem worried. Greg Abbott, the Republican Attorney General in Texas, described Battleground Texas’ efforts in the following terms:

Tea Party Labels John McCain An ‘Illegal Immigrant’

On Tuesday, the Tea Party website ‘Tea Party Nation’ put out an article that labeled Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) an “illegal immigrant” because he had sneaked into Syria to visit rebels fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Although the White House was aware of McCain’s Syrian visit, the article indicated that his visit was virtually the same as undocumented immigration. It also noted that McCain’s humanitarian support for rebels could be attributed to his lack of intelligence, and Democratic turnout for his unsurprising win in the Arizona Senate race.

Monday, May 27, 2013

How safe are US road bridges? (BBC Cover)

A four-lane highway bridge in Washington state has collapsed after being struck by a lorry, six years after 13 people were killed when another bridge fell. So how safe are bridges in the US?

Native American Veterans Lobby For Memorial On National Mall

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Navajo Code Talkers are legendary. Then there was Cpl. Ira Hamilton Hayes, the Pima Indian who became a symbol of courage and patriotism when he and his fellow Marines raised the flag over Iwo Jima in 1945.

Groups Flagged by I.R.S. Tested Political Limits on Tax Status

When CVFC, a conservative veterans’ group in California, applied for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, its biggest expenditure that year was several thousand dollars in radio ads backing a Republican candidate for Congress.

The Obamacare Shock (Paul Krugman)

The Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare, goes fully into effect at the beginning of next year, and predictions of disaster are being heard far and wide. There will be an administrative “train wreck,” we’re told; consumers will face a terrible shock. Republicans, one hears, are already counting on the law’s troubles to give them a big electoral advantage.

Memorial Day Driving By The Numbers (ThinkProgress Infographic)

Following CAP’s piece detailing exactly what it means to use gasoline to travel this Memorial Day weekend, here is an infographic that shows the cost of Big Oil. Gas prices are rising in the Midwest and spot crude oil prices for the West Texas Intermediate benchmark is nearly $5 per barrel higher than last year at this time.

Ohio School District May Add Glenn Beck Conspiracy Theories To Curriculum

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is challenging an Ohio school district for considering a “controversial issues policy” that would require teachers to encourage discussions about creationism and conservative conspiracy theories about U.N. Agenda 21.

‘Show Me Your Papers’ Bill Could Make North Carolina The Next Arizona

North Carolina is set to vote on a piece of anti-immigration legislation on par with Arizona and Alabama’s racially-tinged laws that drew national attention and ire from immigration advocates. The Reasonable Enactment of Comprehensive Legislation Addressing Immigration Matters (RECLAIM) in North Carolina Act, or HB 786 would expand the scope of law enforcement officials with “reasonable suspicion” to authorize immigration status checks on anyone who has been lawfully stopped.

Texas Will Deny Health Coverage To 1.5 Million Low-Income Residents

1.5 million low-income Texans may go without health care coverage after lawmakers in the state voted against expanding Medicaid using $100 billion in federal funds offered under President Obama’s health care law. The decision comes almost a year after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government cannot require states to enroll more Medicaid beneficiaries.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Adam Goodes Calls Out Spectator's Racist Comment

An Australian rules football player is being praised after calling out a fan's racist remark on Friday night.

During the game, a teenage spectator called Sydney Swans forward Adam Goodes-- who is Indigenous-- an "ape" as he ran by. Goodes responded by pointing the girl out to security, who then escorted off the premises.

No food stamps for people convicted of violent crimes

On Wednesday, the 2013 Senate Farm Bill was amended by to make those convicted of certain violent crimes ineligible for SNAP (Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, popularly known as food stamps. The amendment was passed by unanimous consent, meaning that neither Republicans nor Democrats objected to the bill.

Why Obama Is Right To Limit The Authorization Of Military Force Against Terrorists

On CNN’s State of the Union this morning, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, attacked President Obama for calling for the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to be rolled back — a topic the Senate Armed Services Committee recently held a related hearing on. According to McCaul, when President Obama “calls for repeal” of this Authorization, he risks taking away America’s “counterterrorism footprint to respond to the future bin Ladens of the world.”

Tom Coburn On Disaster Relief: Status Quo Means People 'Don't Have To Be Responsible' For State

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) reiterated on Sunday that he won't support additional disaster relief funding without spending cuts elsewhere -- even after tornadoes ripped apart his own state last week.

CBS Breaks Climate Silence With Panel Connecting Climate Change To Extreme Weather

Over the last few years, media outlets have been among the worst offenders maintaining virtual radio silence on how extreme weather patterns may be the result of man-made climate change. But CBS broke this so-called “climate silence” on Face the Nation Sunday, hosting a panel of meteorologists and climatologists to discuss the floods, droughts, and tornadoes that have plagued the country with increasing ferocity.

GOP Congressman ‘Offended’ By Moral Questions Obama Addressed In Counter-terror Speech

The House Homeland Security Committee chairman said on Sunday that he was “offended” that President Obama considered moral questions about U.S. counter-terrorism policy in his major speech on national security last week.

Bob Dole Scolds GOP: Reagan Wouldn’t Make It In Today’s Republican Party

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) told Fox News Sunday this week that the Senate Republicans are abusing the filibuster and that he doubts he, Richard Nixon, or Ronald Reagan could make it in today’s Republican Party.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Facebook Rejects Breast Cancer Ad For Violating Ban Against ‘Adult Products’

Facebook rejected an ad this week that disputed scientifically unsound claims that abortion can cause higher instances of breast cancer, arguing that the advertisement violated the company’s guidelines “by advertising adult products or services, including toys, videos, or sexual enhancement products.” The news comes as a coalition of sexual violence prevention and women’s equality organizations are pressuring Facebook to take a stronger stance in favor of women’s health and crackdown against messages that “trivialize or glorify” violence against women.

Meet Etienne Syldor, A Black Man Who Paid His Mortgage Early Now Facing Foreclosure

Etienne Syldor, an Orlando resident who works as a bus driver at Walt Disney World, says that Wells Fargo has started foreclosing on his house. This is despite the fact that he not only made his payments on time, but even overpaid on them.

Friday, May 24, 2013

GOP Governor Shuts Down Lawmaking Until Her Party Agrees To Expand Medicaid

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has a message for her party: expand Medicaid — or else.

The combative GOP governor is sticking by a threat she made to veto all legislation until lawmakers resolve the 2014 state budget and pass Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. On Thursday, Brewer proved that wasn’t just talk, vetoing five bills sent to her desk in quick succession.

U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Gets Acronym For ‘Jewish-American Princess’ Pulled From Bravo

In a fascinating bit of cross-cultural misalignment, Michael Yaki, a former San Francisco supervisor and now a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, got Bravo to cut the use of the acronym “JAP,” which is colloquially used, often in a self-referential way, to stand for “Jewish-American Princess,” from its promos for and episodes of a new show, Princesses: Long Island, about privilege young women from the New York area. The San Francisco Chronicle explains:

Washington Bridge Collapse Another Sign That America’s Infrastructure Is In Bad Shape

On Thursday evening, an Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state collapsed, sending two cars into the water and injuring three people. So far no fatalities have been reported. Authorities don’t yet know what caused the collapse.

Texas GOP Introduced At Least 24 Anti-Abortion Bills This Year, But Not A Single One Advanced

Over the past several years, Texas lawmakers have kept themselves busy by launching multiple attacks on women’s health. In 2011 and 2012, state officials slashed family planning funding, repeatedly attacked Planned Parenthood, and enacted stringent abortion restrictions. Not so this session.

Governor Finally Remembers He Has One Latino On His Staff

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) remembered the one Latino in his administration on Thursday, one day after ThinkProgress highlighted an exchange in which he said “we do not have any staff members” who are Latino.

How California Is Debunking The GOP’s "Obama Care's" Talking Points

On Thursday, California officials revealed insurance companies’ opening bids for the state’s Obamacare marketplace in 2014. The numbers are great for consumers — and terrible for right-wing fear mongering over the health law.

Fortune 500 Company Wins Fight To Turn Women’s Safe House Into A Luxury Hotel

The 104-year-old Anna Louise Inn in Cincinnati, Ohio, has long provided a refuge for women struggling to overcome drug addictions or prostitution, escape abusive husbands, or simply get back on their feet. When Western & Southern Insurance Group initially approached them with plans to purchase the safe house several years ago and turn it into a hotel, the Anna Louise declined. Western & Southern sued over a zoning issue, and, after a costly 2-year legal battle, the Fortune 500 company finally bought the house last week for $4 million.

NYPD Stop-And-Frisks Lead To More Marijuana Arrests Than Anything Else

In 2012, more people subject to the New York Police Department’s controversial stop-and-frisks were arrested for marijuana than for anything else, according to a new analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union. While NYPD’s stated purpose for its aggressive and racially disproportionate stop-and-frisk program is to target guns, the number of people arrested for marijuana was more than six times the number of guns recovered. While 729 guns were recovered, 5,000 people were arrested for marijuana. Overall, more than 26,000 people were stopped for marijuana possession.

Illinois Bans Abstinence-Only Sex Ed: ‘In Fantasy Land, We Teach Our Kids Abstinence’

Illinois public schools will be required to include medically accurate information about birth control in their sex ed classes under a measure that the state legislature passed this week. HB 2675, which Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is expected to sign into law, will prohibit health classes from teaching abstinence-only curricula.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ten State Legislatures That Have Beaten The NRA After Newtown

As Congress fails to make progress on reforming the nation’s gun laws, state legislatures have filled the void. A number of states around the country, and not just deep-blue ones, have taken steps to crack down on gun violence. Even some very conservative states have defeated National Rifle Association (NRA) supported bills that would have significantly weakened state gun laws.

This Is By Far The Worse Disrespect Of A U.S. President Ever! (And Counting)

Another major political speech, another Code Pink heckling.

During President Obama‘s counter-terrorism policy speech at National Defense University on Thursday afternoon, Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin interrupted when the topic turned to the closing of the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Maddow Whips Alex Jones Crazy "Weather Weapon Theory And More" Into A Tailspin! (This Is Some Of Her Best Work Right Here)

Rachel Maddow closed out her Wednesday night show this week by taking on a familiar target: conspiracy theorist and founder of InfoWars Alex Jones. Maddow began by reviewing how some of his more “out there” theories have started to penetrate the halls of Congress before moving on to the latest tragedy he has attempted to exploit: the Oklahoma tornado.

Shoddy Materials And Illegal Construction Caused Bangladesh Factory Collapse

The Bangladesh government released results of its investigation into the factory collapse that killed 1,127 and concluded that “extremely” poor quality materials and violations of regulations were to blame, the Associated Press reports:

Congressman’s Misuse Of Bible Verse Belies Bad Theology And Ideology On Food Stamps

As the House Agriculture Committee convened earlier this week to discuss whether or not to cut as much as $4.1 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), the conversation between lawmakers devolved into an exchange that was equal parts bad policy and bad theology.

The 20 Craziest Tweets From The Man Who Could Be Virginia’s Next Lt Governor

If you were to put the dregs of conservative Internet comment sections into a pot, boil them down to their essence, then run the resulting product through a sieve to get it to its rawest, most pure form of vitriol, it would probably look something like E.W. Jackson’s Twitter feed.

Austerity’s Vicious Cycle Spurs Record Cash Hoarding By U.S. Companies

Big corporations have been stockpiling cash rather than investing in expansions to their operations for years, but a report Thursday indicates that recovery-bridling behavior is worsening in 2013. Cash hoarding sped up in the first quarter of the year, and American companies are now holding a record $1.73 trillion on the sidelines. According to Bloomberg, the turnaround in corporate investment attitudes owes largely to political instability and congressionally-inflicted economic wounds. Businesses were slowing their cash buildup, but “That changed in last year’s second half, with the U.S. presidential election under way and Congress struggling to reach a compromise on the federal debt as automatic budget cuts loomed.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Inside Story Of The Harvard Dissertation That Became Too Racist For Heritage

The idea that some racial groups are, on average, smarter than others is without a doubt among the most discussed (and debunked) “taboos” in American intellectual history. It is an argument that has been advanced since the days of slavery, one that helped push through the draconian Immigration Act of 1924, and one that set off a scientific firestorm in the late 60s that’s hardly flagged since.

The Black 'Mad Men' Of The GOP (The

Rev. E.W. Jackson, who narrowly won the right to run as the Republican Party’s standard-bearer for lieutenant governor in the upcoming Virginia election, is the latest black Republican to distinguish himself more for his outrageous statements than his ability to broaden the party’s base among minority voters. It’s the latest setback for a party that dearly wants to find its own version of Barack Obama.

Health Care For A Family Of Four Now Costs More Than The Groceries To Feed Them For An Entire Year

As medical costs continue to rise, the annual health expenses for a family of four now exceed the typical of cost of their groceries during the same time period, according to a new report from consulting firm Milliman, Inc.

Bombshell: China May Be Close To Implementing A Cap On Carbon Pollution

China is taking steps to tackle its huge carbon output. Today, the country announced the details of its first carbon trading program, which will begin in the city of Shenzhen next month. The southern city is one of seven cities and provinces, including Beijing, which will take part in the pilot program, set to be completely implemented by 2014.

Average CEO Salary Reached A New Record High Of $9.7 Million In 2012

The average CEO salary broke records in 2011 at $9.6 million — and now, that record high has been topped by 2012 salaries, which averaged out to $9.7 million. Health care and media CEOs enjoyed the highest pay, while utility CEOs had the lowest at $7.5 million. Sixty percent of CEOs got a raise last year.

Civil Rights Groups Slam Amendment Targeting Muslim Immigrants

Civil rights leaders slammed an amendment added to the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill that would subject immigrants from Muslim countries for extra scrutiny.

POLL: Americans In The Deep South Strongly Support Medicaid Expansion, Despite Governors’ Opposition

Over 60 percent of the Americans living in the Deep South support Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, according to the results from a new poll that surveyed a broad sample of people in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Obama needs to stop lecturing predominantly black audiences, some supporters say

Trevor Coleman thinks it’s time for President Obama to get a new speech for black audiences. The personal responsibility finger-wagging, delivered most recently Sunday at Morehouse College’s commencement, is getting old.

In Colorado, Blacks Make Up 4 Percent Of The Population And 100 Percent Of Death Row

In March, Colorado came close to becoming the 19th state to abolish the death penalty, but the bill failed after Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) voiced opposition and suggested a possible veto. A few months later, Colorado’s death penalty is still firmly in place, and the state is poised to complete what would be only the second execution in 45 years (the last was in 1997). Few dispute that Nathan Dunlap committed a horrific crime and murdered several people at a Chuck E. Cheese. But judges, university professors, and other prominent state leaders are urging Gov. Hickenlooper to commute Dunlap’s sentence, both because crucial errors that defined his trial may have led him to get a harsher sentence than others, and because killing anyone under the perverted state system would be a miscarriage of justice. According to letters filed with Hickenlooper’s office:

STUDY: People Eat Bigger Portion Sizes When The Food Is Labeled ‘Healthy’

People assume they can eat larger portion sizes of foods labeled “healthy,” even when those foods actually have the same amount of calories as the “non-healthy” versions, according to the results from a new study. The research project was an attempt to assess whether food companies’ marketing efforts to brand their products as healthier have an impact on consumer choices.

Congressman Who Gets Millions In Farm Subsidies Denounces Food Stamps As Stealing ‘Other People’s Money’

Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN) agitated against food aid for poor Americans included in the Farm Bill during last week’s House Agricultural Committee debate, accusing the government of stealing “other people’s money.” Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has already been decimated in both the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill, cutting off nearly 2 million working families, children, and seniors from food assistance.

Peaceful Protester Tasered Outside DOJ While Demanding Wall Street Prosecutions

WASHINGTON -- Carmen Pittman had no intention of becoming an activist, but her bank, the Department of Justice and Occupy Atlanta turned her into one. Shortly before her grandmother died in 2011, the family realized that JPMorgan Chase was preparing to foreclose. HuffPost interviewed her late that year for a story on Occupy Atlanta and found a bewildered and desperate 21-year-old, talking about her childhood home in the past tense.

Virginia Parents Outraged After Walmart Security Allegedly Suspected Father Of Kidnapping Biracial Daughters

A Virginia couple was shocked to find a police officer in front of their home when they returned from running errands, but they were even more surprised by the reason for the cop's visit-- to question whether or not they were in fact their children's parents.

Xbox One, Microsoft's Next Generation Console, Unveiled At Event In Redmond

After a prolific run across 8 years with over 70 million units sold for the Xbox 360, Microsoft announced its next generation system, the Xbox One, in Redmond, Wash. today. The Xbox One will be "available around the world later this year," though they did not give any information on pricing.

Senator Jim Inhofe: Oklahoma Tornado Aid Will Be 'Totally Different' From Sandy Aid

WASHINGTON - Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) said on Tuesday that federal aid to tornado-ravaged parts of his home state will be "totally different" than a Hurricane Sandy aid bill he voted against late last year.

How America Became a Third World Country (The Nation)

The streets are so much darker now, since money for streetlights is rarely available to municipal governments. The national parks began closing down years ago. Some are already being subdivided and sold to the highest bidder. Reports on bridges crumbling or even collapsing are commonplace. The air in city after city hangs brown and heavy (and rates of childhood asthma and other lung diseases have shot up), because funding that would allow the enforcement of clean air standards by the Environmental Protection Agency is a distant memory. Public education has been cut to the bone, making good schools a luxury and, according to the Department of Education, two of every five students won’t graduate from high school.

‘We May Have To Close Schools’: Five Districts That Are Grappling With Sequestration’s Budget Cuts

While many public schools will be able to stave off some of the harshest impacts of sequestration with other sources of revenue, those that serve military families and Native American communities are in a much more difficult situation. That’s because they rely heavily on federal Impact Aid. That money goes to schools on or near military bases and Native American reservations that don’t collect as much in tax revenues as other public schools to help fill the gap.

Senator Undertakes $3-Per-Day Food Stamp Challenge As Congress Readies Cut

As the farm bill approved by the Agriculture Committee last week reaches the Senate floor Monday afternoon, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) will be a few hours into an experiment: eating for a week on the meager food budget afford by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Murphy announced on Twitter that he would take the SNAP Challenge, which is the brainchild of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).

Arizona Congressman Wants To Expand His DC Abortion Ban To Restrict Reproductive Rights Nationwide

Not content with attempting to impose his anti-abortion agenda upon the women who live in the nation’s capital, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) now intends to push for a nationwide bill to criminalize abortions after 20 weeks. Franks, who invoked the illegal abortion provider Kermit Gosnell to justify his decision to re-introduce a 20-week abortion ban in DC, now says that Gosnell’s crimes have compelled him to amend his bill so it applies to women across the country.

Oklahoma Senator Won’t Support Tornado Relief Without Budget Cuts

The tornado that hit Oklahoma on Monday resulted in more than 20 deaths and is expected to cost the federal government untold billions of dollars in aid and recovery. But Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has long objected to federal funds being spent on everything from veterans benefits to relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is already insisting that any additional appropriations should be paid for with cuts elsewhere. “That’s always been his position [to offset disaster aid],” Coburn spokesman John Hart said. “He supported offsets to the bill funding the OKC bombing recovery effort.”

Before Deadly Tornado Hit, Oklahoma Senators Worked To Undermine Disaster Relief

Oklahoma residents will now turn to government assistance for emergency disaster aid after a tornado ripped through the state on Monday, leaving dozens dead and tearing apart hundreds of buildings. But the same night that many residents lost their homes, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) told CQ Roll Call insisted he would “absolutely” require any federal disaster aid to be offset by other budget cuts. He later clarified on Tuesday, promising, “I can assure Oklahomans that any and all available aid will be delivered without delay.”

GOP Aides Mock House Republicans’ ‘Crazy’ Benghazi Witch-Hunt

GOP aides are criticizing the House Republicans’ partisan witch-hunt over the Obama administration’s handling of the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya last year, arguing that the Party should focus more on substantive issues, such as lessons learned and how to recalibrate diplomatic security.

7 Very Wrong Things About Climate Science And Energy In House Science Chair Lamar Smith’s WashPost Op-Ed

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the new chair of the House Science and Technology Committee, wrote an op-ed in Monday’s Washington Post that contains several misrepresentations of fact. He argued for increased fossil fuel production, against the scientific consensus that humans cause climate change, and for a “wait-and-see” approach to cutting carbon emissions.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

1,200 Harvard Students Demand Investigation Into Jason Richwine’s Thesis On Hispanic IQ

Over 1,000 Harvard students delivered a petition to Harvard University’s JFK School on Saturday, demanding an investigation into how and why the school approved a 2009 doctoral thesis arguing that Hispanics have lower IQs. The thesis was written by Jason Richwine, a co-author of a paper by the conservative Heritage Foundation that argued immigration reform would cost taxpayers $6.3 trillion. The discovery of Richwine’s paper by the Washington Post sparked a firestorm around the Heritage study, and several days later Richwine resigned from the think tank.

The Sunday, May 19Th 2013 Talking Heads

FIXED NEWS Just About Every SUNDAY- Fox

Okay, what does ol' Chris Wallace got going for us? IRSGhazi! All those 501(c)(whatevers) got Ghazied by people in Cincinnati and now we're in a "crisis of confidence," because if there's one word we've traditionally associated with "the IRS" it's "confidence."

The Desecration Of Bodies In War

The recent case of a Syrian rebel appearing to take a bite from an opponent's heart seems utterly shocking and disturbing. But is this incident more inhuman than all the other countless atrocities that have already taken place in this war?

White House Pushes Back At Fox News’ Effort To Politicize IRS Scandal

On this week’s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace pressured White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer about why the Obama administration didn’t act sooner to address the IRS’s inappropriate targeting of conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) tax status, arguing that Treasury officials and administration officials were aware of an ongoing investigation.

Mitch McConnell Backs Away From GOP Claims Of A Benghazi Cover Up

On Sunday, during an appearance on Meet The Press, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — the GOP leader in the senate — distanced himself from Republican efforts to portray the Obama administration’s response to the attacks on a U.S. diplomatic issue in Benghazi, Libya as a Watergate-level scandal that should result in impeachment. McConnell’s comments come just days after the White House released 100 pages of emails undermining GOP claims that administration officials doctored the public talking points U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used to discuss the incident on the Sunday morning talk shows.

Broken Rail Eyed In Conn. Train Crash

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The commuter train derailment and collision that left dozens injured outside New York City was not the result of foul play, officials said Saturday, but a fractured section of rail is being studied to determine if it is connected to the accident.

Virginia GOP Nominee Believes Gays Are ‘Very Sick’ And Democrats Are Worse Than The KKK

The Virginia Republican Party this weekend nominated for lieutenant governor a minister who has a history of virulent anti-gay statements, accuses the Democratic Party of enslaving African Americans, and criticized President Obama for having “Muslim sensibilities.” The former Senate candidate ,who in 2012 garnered less than 5 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, bested six other candidates during the Virginia GOP convention, and will join conservative Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on the Republican ticket, as the first black candidate the state party has endorsed since 1988.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Illinois Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

The Illinois legislature sent a medical marijuana bill to Gov. Pat Quinn Friday, after the Senate passed a measure 35-21 largely along party lines. The measure would permit marijuana use with a doctor’s prescription for 33 specified ailments, require users, growers, and dispensaries to undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks, and limit the number of growers and dispensaries.

A Marine Talks About The "B.S" Over "Umbrella, Ella, Ella, Gate" (

Yesterday we learned of one more reason to impeach the Kenyan impostor: as he was giving his press conference with the Turkish whoever, it began to rain, and he summoned two United States Marines over to hold umbrellas over himself and his Very Important Guest. Commentors at the Free Republic howled that PBO was trying to “humiliate” the Marine Corps by “demeaning them” and “demoralizing them.” They were very mad! Then one M. Joseph Sheppard, to whom apparently we have not been paying enough attention, tried to explain: we were wrong to simply point out other presidents having umbrellas held for them. The shocking scandal was that Barack Nobumer had made Marines disregard their own code, by holding umbrellas. He cited some uniform regulations, as if a Marine performing a service for his Commander-in-Chief were the same as a Marine delicately shielding himself from the elements while humping up a mountain or to keep his hair dry while doing drillsies.

Sea Turtle Comeback: Giant Leatherback Numbers Rebound In Parts Of Caribbean

GRANDE RIVIERE, Trinidad — Giant leatherback turtles, some weighing half as much as a small car, drag themselves out of the ocean and up the sloping shore on the northeastern coast of Trinidad while villagers await wearing dimmed headlamps in the dark. Their black carapaces glistening, the turtles inch along the moonlit beach, using their powerful front flippers to move their bulky frames onto the sand.

How States Are Leading The Way On Equal Pay For Women

Legislation at the federal level designed to improve women’s economic opportunities appears stalled, including, most recently, the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. But some states are taking matters into their own hands and working on similar laws in their legislatures. They could serve as models for what needs to be done at the federal level.

OB-GYNs Are Confused By The Political Fight To Restrict Emergency Contraception

This month, the political fight over emergency contraception has intensified, as the Obama administration continues to resist making the morning after pill available to women of all ages over the counter. After a federal judge ordered the FDA to remove all age restrictions on emergency contraception, the administration disagreed, maintaining that girls under 15 years old should still be required be obtain a prescription to purchase the contraceptive method — a position that baffles medical experts.

Federal Appeals Court: Drug Sentencing Disparity Is Intentional Racial ‘Subjucation’

Since Congress recognized the gaping racial disparity between mandatory minimum sentences for crack offenses and cocaine offenses and reduced the ratio from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1, courts have grappled with when and how to apply the statute to already-decided cases. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the reductions in the Fair Sentencing Act applied to at least those cases decided before the law was passed, but not yet sentenced. But questions remain about whether the statute applies retroactively to tens of thousands of other inmates who might seek reduced sentences.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Rewriting History: GOP Senator Pretends He Voted For Expanded Background Checks

On his Facebook page Friday, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) denied he ever voted against strengthened background checks amid blacklash over his opposition to the bipartisan Manchey-Toomey background checks amendment.

Michelle Obama Encourages African-American Students To Stop Aspiring To Be ‘A Baller Or A Rapper’

Because this is apparently a week that involves a lot of me lowering my head slowly and deliberately to my desk a la Peggy Olson, First Lady Michelle Obama decided to trot out some very old talking points in her commencement address to the 2013 graduating class at Bowie State University:

5 Major Scandals The Media Isn’t Obsessing About

This week, the national media has focused on the three different scandals surrounding the White House, devoting hours of coverage to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) improperly targeting conservative groups applying for tax exempt status, the talking points Susan Rice used in the aftermath of the attacks in Benghazi, and the Justice Department’s subpoena of phone records from the Associated Press as part of an investigation into a national security leak. The around-the-clock coverage comes even as a new Gallup poll finds that interest in the ongoing controversies is “lower comparable to major news stores in the past.”

Lawmakers Urge Obama To Bypass Congress To Confront Sexual Assault In The Military

The military’s sexual assault crisis has been in the headlines consistently for the past two weeks, leading two members of Congress to call on President Obama to take executive action and fix it.

Too Often, Teen Mothers Receive Shame Instead Of Support

This week, news broke that a Michigan school district is barring two teens from displaying their pregnant bellies in their school yearbook. The school district’s superintendent explained that depicting images of teen pregnancy in the yearbook goes against the school’s mission of “promoting abstinence.” One of the pregnant teens said she “went to the bathroom and cried” upon hearing the news.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Industry Groups Urge Supreme Court To Ban EPA From Regulating CO2

Conservative states, business groups, fossil fuel companies, and politicians who deny the science of climate change are petitioning the Supreme Court to reverse Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on greenhouse gases and to weaken the Clean Air Act. This would involve the Court either limiting or reversing its own 2007 decision, Massachusetts v. EPA, which found that the EPA is required to regulate carbon pollution as pollution.

Worsening A Warming-Fueled Wildfire Season, Sequestration Threatens Firefighting Efforts

Due to sequestration, the federal government will be at least $115 million short of normal wildfire fighting capacity during this year’s wildfire season. This is particularly problematic as large portions of the U.S. face a serious drought and extremely dry conditions. As the Washington Post reported, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said “I hope we can get through this fire season without any fatalities.”

Nigeria's Adamawa state: Army curfew to curb Boko Haram

Nigeria's army has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew across the north-eastern state of Adamawa to curb attacks by militant Islamists.

Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant: Our Critics Are Fueled By 'Elitism'

It's not controversial pesticide-resistent crops that fuel Monsanto's critics, according to the company's CEO; it's their own desire to keep poor people from cheap food.

Natural Disasters Displaced 32.4 Million People In 2012, IDMC Study Shows

More than 30 million people fled their homes in 2012 because of disasters such as floods, storms and earthquakes, a new report indicates.

Global Warming is Happening, And It's Real, Scientist Agree. (I Hate The Soft Word Climate Change)

Public opinion on the topic of climate change is notoriously fickle, changing -- quite literally sometimes -- with the weather. The latest bit of evidence on this: Yale's April 2013 climate change survey, which found, among other things, that Americans' conviction that global warming is happening had dropped by seven points, to 63 percent, over the preceding six months. The decline, the authors surmised, was most likely due to "the cold winter of 2012-13 and an unusually cold March just before the survey was conducted."

Obama Speaks Of 'Going Bulworth' In Second Term

The New York Times reported that President Barack Obama has spoken privately of "going Bulworth," a reference to the 1998 Warren Beatty movie about a California Senate candidate who becomes unusually honest after having run as a centrist Democrat.

Abercrombie & Fitch Signs Bangladesh Safety Agreement While Other American Companies Hold Out

Late on Wednesday, American retailer Abercrombie & Fitch announced it would sign a safety upgrade plan that has been signed by six major European retailers and one other American company, PVH, owner of Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Izod. The agreement, which is legally binding, includes independent factory inspections and requires companies to help underwrite building upgrades and repairs.

Two GOP Judges Just Voted To Eliminate Union Rights, Here’s How The Senate Can Stop Them

Two events this morning strike at the heart of whether workers have the right to organize. The first is a brand new decision by two Republican judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit striking down President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The second is a confirmation hearing, coincidentally being held this morning, on five nominees to that same Board. If the Third Circuit’s opinion stands, and the five nominees are not confirmed, the practical result will be a blank check for union-busting employers.

Kansas Elected Official Stands By Using Racial Slur ’100 Percent’

Kansas Board of Education member Steve Roberts (R), an elected official representing one-tenth of the state, defended on Tuesday his use of a racial epithet at a previous board meeting to “push the frontiers of political correctness.” After a former Topeka NAACP president advocated for more African American history in state curriculum standards, Roberts had brought up an unrelated non-binding 2007 New York City resolution discouraging the use of the “N-word” and other offensive language.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kiera Wilmot Will Not Be Charged For Explosion At Florida School

A central Florida teenager who was accused of igniting a chemical explosion on school grounds – and who became the subject of a grassroots social media campaign on her behalf – will not face criminal charges, authorities said Wednesday.

North Carolina Women Don 1960s Garb To Protest ‘Vintage’ Bill That Threatens Birth Control Access

North Carolina is advancing a measure that would effectively allow personal beliefs to trump women’s access to birth control. Under HB 730, employers in the state could decide not to include contraceptives in their workers’ insurance plans for any reason — a direct violation of the popular Obamacare provision that stipulates women should receive birth control coverage at no additional cost to them. But as lawmakers debate HB 730, women’s health advocates in the state want them to know they’re not willing to be dragged back to the 1960s without a fight.

Eric Holder Slams Darrell Issa During House Judiciary Committee Hearing

Attorney General Eric Holder had tough words for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) during Wednesday's House Judiciary Committee hearing, criticizing the congressman's behavior as "unacceptable" and "shameful."

Why Is Chicago Devoting $125 Million To Build A Basketball Arena For A Private University?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will lay out a proposal Thursday for a $195 million basketball arena for DePaul University, a private Chicago university that spent $20 million in 2004 to make its current home, Allstate Arena, “a state-of-the-art facility.” The plan, according to reports from CBS Chicago, will require $125 million from taxpayers, with $70 million coming from a tax on hotel rooms and an additional $55 million coming from a common arena scheme known as tax-incremented financing (TIF).

Fixed News Gives Karl Rove’s Crossroads Groups Millions In Free Airtime

Though Karl Rove receives a salary from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for his work as a Fox News Channel “political contributor,” his compensation doesn’t end there. The network frequently airs ads by his American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS political committees, as “news,” free of charge.

White House Revives ‘Media Shield’ Bill To Protect Journalists

Under fire for the Justice Department’s surveillance of AP reporters’ phone records, the White House is pushing to revive a “media shield” bill to protect reporters who refuse to identify confidential sources. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) received a call Wednesday from the White House asking him to reintroduce his 2009 bill.

Armed Forces Sexual Assault Crisis Reaches New Heights

Ahead of possible major actions from the Pentagon and Congress on sexual assault in the military, the U.S. Army is forced to confront yet another instance of a member of the armed forces involved in a shocking sexual assault scandal.

Amid New Data About The (Shrinking) Deficit, Will Washington Finally Focus On Jobs?

The budget deficit will shrink to its smallest level since before the Great Recession in 2013, and it will continue shrinking through 2015, according to revised estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday. In reality, the deficit is even smaller than the CBO predicts, since its “current law” projections assume that funding for the war in Afghanistan and federal disaster relief for states hit by Hurricane Sandy will continue in perpetuity. But that funding isn’t endless, and it will bring the deficit down to even smaller levels.

CNN And Fox News’ Evening Shows Get Whiter And More Male, While Sharpton and Hayes Pick Up Slack At MSNBC

Over the past couple of days, Media Matters for America has been rolling out an analysis of who gets booked on cable news shows, and comparing it to data from a similar month in 2008. The findings are discouraging. In May 2008, 57 percent of all guests on evening cable news were white men. In April 2013, that number’s risen to 58 percent.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Senate Committee Approves $4B In Food Aid Cuts As House Preps Even Worse Measure

The average value of federal food aid will fall to $1.40 per person per meal in November, as a Recovery Act provision expires, but Republicans are already working to impose a further $21 billion in cuts to the program. That’s the upshot of two recent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports on the future of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).

Twin Primes Conjecture: 'Weak' Version Of Famed Math Problem Possibly Proven

It’s a result only a mathematician could love. Researchers hoping to get ‘2’ as the answer for a long-sought proof involving pairs of prime numbers are celebrating the fact that a mathematician has wrestled the value down from infinity to 70 million.

U.S. Taxpayers Footing Bill That Promotes Monsanto Abroad: Report

May 14 (Reuters) - U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for overseas lobbying that promotes controversial biotech crops developed by U.S.-based Monsanto Co and other seed makers, a report issued on Tuesday said.

Julian Bond, Former NAACP Chair: Tea Party Is 'Taliban Wing Of American Politics'

Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond said Tuesday that it was "entirely legitimate" for the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative groups for increased scrutiny, calling the tea party the "Taliban wing of American politics."

Student Loan Debt Tenacious As U.S. Households Shed Other Debt: Study

Four years after the Great Recession, U.S. households are slowly repairing their balance sheets and shedding their debt -- except when it comes to student loans.

RNC Director Of Hispanic Outreach Quits Party And Registers As A Democrat

When Republicans appointed Pablo Pantoja to State Director of Florida Hispanic Outreach for the Republican National Committee, they hoped he would be able to bridge the sizable gap that only expanded during the 2012 elections, when the state’s 4.3 million Hispanic voters supported Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by a 20 percent margin.

Six Major Retailers Sign Factory Safety Upgrade Plan In Bangladesh

After H&M, the largest purchaser of garments in Bangladesh, announced on Monday that it would sign a fire and safety upgrade plan in the country, four other retailers have similarly signed on: Spanish retailer Inditex, owner of Zara, Dutch retailer C&A, and British retailers Primark and Tesco. Europe accounts for 60 percent of the country’s clothing exports. American company PVH, which owns Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Izod, also signed onto the deal, a more expansive version of one it had already signed, and pledged to contribute $2.5 million to underwrite factory safety improvements.

How Real Disclosure Laws Could Help Fix The IRS Problem

The Internal Revenue Service is under fire from both parties for improperly targeting certain groups for additional scrutiny because their names included keywords such as “Tea Party” and “patriot.” But the challenge of addressing the skyrocketing numbers of “social welfare” groups registering for tax exempt status could be lessened by fixing the broken disclosure laws for political advertisers.

Full White House Benghazi Email Undermines GOP’s Cover-Up Claims

CNN has obtained the full email from a White House official on the Benghazi talking points, which undermines claims that the administration acted deliberately to change the intelligence community’s assessment.

On Women’s Health Week, Angelina Jolie Goes Public About Her Double Mastectomy

Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie shared the story of her preventative double mastectomy, a decision she made after discovering she carries a gene that gives her an extremely high risk of developing breast cancer, in a New York Times op-ed published on Tuesday. Her public announcement coincided with National Women’s Health Week, a government initiative to encourage U.S. women to better safeguard their health and seek out preventative care. In Jolie’s editorial, she explains that she hopes other women might benefit from learning about her experience.

Attorney General Holder Recused Himself From AP Investigation

Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters on Tuesday that he recused himself early on in the Department of Justice’s investigation of the Associated Press and possible national security leaks.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Wayne Brady Is Tired Of Being Used By Others For Comparison As When A Black Man Is Not Considered Black Enough: Calls Out Bill Maher

Even though Wayne Brady respects Bill Maher as a comedian and performer, there's no love lost between the two, thanks to Maher's repeated use of Brady as a punchline about Obama's lack of "black" cred.

Half Of All Jobs Created In The Past 3 Years Were Low-Paying: Study

You might think the job market is awful, but that's only because you're hung up on trivialities like "money." If you can just learn to do without a living wage, the job market suddenly looks much better.

Seven Outlandish Things The Heritage Foundation’s Remaining Employees Believe

Late in the day Friday, the Heritage Foundation announced that Jason Richwine, the co-author of their widely criticized immigration report, was no longer employed by the conservative think tank. Shortly after the immigration report was released, the Washington Post’s Dylan Matthews reported that Richwine’s PhD dissertation claimed that “new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren.”

How The Powerful Gun Lobby Works To Discredit The Doctors Trying To Keep Children Safe

As the nation continues to grapple with the best policy solutions to help prevent gun violence, powerful lobbying groups like the NRA continue to wield outsized influence over the ongoing conversation. That’s why pediatricians, who are currently lobbying Congress for stronger gun laws in order to safeguard children’s health, are treading cautiously as they quietly push for legislative action.