Child Pornography Charges For Top GOP Aide
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced that his chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, is being put on leave over allegations involving child pornography, National Journal reports.
Said Alexander: “I am stunned, surprised and disappointed by what I have learned.”
"Stunned, surprised, and disappointed" but not outraged. Outrage is reserved for Obama handshakes and umbrellas.
Responding to the news, Sen. John Cornyn [R-TX] tweets: “Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care.”
"As you can imagine this has been a very difficult ordeal for us as a family, and particularly for him."
Jeff Newman, son of Merrill • Discussing his father’s ordeal in North Korea, where the 85-year-old tourist and veteran was held for more than a month by authorities and only released after apologizing to the country for his role as a war vet. Merrill Newman was offered a ride home via Vice President Joe Biden’s Air Force Two; he turned it down to fly commercial. (via shortformblog)
There is great weight to the way that institutions, educational or otherwise, treat those who are “othered” by society. If a group of students is labeled “the bad kids,” other students will avoid them, whisper things about them, share rumors. In my school the kids who hung out just off school property and smoked in the morning were “the bad kids.” Never mind if those kids might have been extremely bright students who just happened to enjoy smoking or didn’t feel invested in the coursework presented to them; they were “bad.” And if a school labels gender-variant presentation as a sin, then the students of that school will, in no insignificant way, be influenced by that label in how they interact with those who do indeed break the gender-identity mold. And that’s what the law currently being challenged for repeal in California is all about. It recognizes, at the state level, the inherent right of a human being to self-identify. It acknowledges that the science of what makes sex or gender isn’t as airtight as people once believed, and that there are people who were identified as boys or girls at birth who actually aren’t. It is an early step in what I hope will be a continuously fortuitous journey toward understanding that there is nothing wrong with us that makes us transgender, and that being transgender is the simple fact of our being. And it does this not just by protecting those trans kids who desperately need protecting but by teaching those cisgender kids in their schools that we exist, and that there is nothing scary or dangerous about us. It establishes that we don’t just belong in their spaces but that they are our spaces too. This law is important because of two very important words: We belong."
One of the most troubling things about the AIDS epidemic is that it could have been stopped so easily by rolling out life-saving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) early on. Not only do ARVs prevent HIV from developing into AIDS, they also reduce transmission rates and increase people’s willingness to get tested. But Western pharmaceutical corporations have colluded in pricing these essential drugs way out of reach of the poor. When they were first introduced, patented ARVs cost up to $15,000 per yearly regimen. Generic producers were able to manufacture the same drugs for a mere fraction of the price, but the WTO outlawed this through the 1995 TRIPS agreement to protect Big Pharma’s monopoly. It was not until 2003 that the WTO bowed to activist pressure and allowed southern Africa to import generics, but by then it was too late – HIV prevalence had already reached devastating proportions. In other words, much of the region’s AIDS burden can be directly attributed to the WTO’s rules and the corporations that defended them. And they are set to strike again: the WTO will cut patent exemptions for poor countries after 2016. This dearth of basic drugs has gone hand in hand with the general collapse of public health institutions. Structural adjustment and WTO trade policies have forced states to cut spending on hospitals and staff in order to repay odious debts to the West. Swaziland, ground-zero in the world of AIDS, has been hit hard by these cuts. When I last visited I found that many once-bustling clinics are now empty and dilapidated. Neoliberalism has systematically destroyed the first line of defence against AIDS. The point I want to drive home is that the policies that deny poor people access to life-saving drugs and destroy public healthcare come from the same institutions and interests that helped create the conditions for HIV transmission in the first place."
this is violence
"Cesar Vargas seemed to have checked all the right boxes in his quest to become a lawyer in New York State. He made honors at both college and law school in New York City, his home since coming to the United States from Mexico at age 5. He interned with a State Supreme Court judge, a Brooklyn district attorney and a United States congressman. And he passed the state bar exam. The only obstacle that remained before he could become a certified lawyer was an evaluation of his background and character by a committee appointed by the State Supreme Court. That committee rated him “stellar.” In the same stroke, however, they also recommended against his certification as a lawyer. The reason: Mr. Vargas is an unauthorized immigrant."
Jeremy Relph reports on the contested Presidential election in Honduras: http://nyr.kr/1bdOwL7
Photographs by Dominic Bracco.
"U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries may be militarily effective, but they are killing innocent civilians in a way that is obscene and immoral. I’m afraid that ignoring this ugly fact makes Americans complicit in murder."
I don’t think it makes all Americans complicit, because many of us did not vote for or support the people who enact these policies, and it’s not like taxes are voluntary. But it does make some of us complicit, and it unquestionably makes our government guilty as — there’s really no other word for it — hell.(via hipsterlibertarian)