Shared posts

24 May 18:12

The Senate Just Unanimously Passed a Bill to Give Basic Rights to Sexual-Assault Survivors

by Inae Oh

On Monday, the US Senate unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act, bringing the country one step closer to enacting the first piece of federal legislation that would establish rights for survivors of sexual assault.

Central to the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H), is the right for victims' to have their rape kits preserved for free. The law would also prevent rape kits from being destroyed until the statute of limitations ends in the state where the crime occurred. States would be required to inform victims 60 days in advance of the kit's expiration date.

"This bill will send a powerful message to survivors all across the country: You do have rights, we do care about you, if you choose to come forward we're going to be there for you and we're going to ensure a justice system that treats you with dignity and fairness," Shaheen said in a speech addressed to the Senate on Monday.

The Senate's passage is a major victory for Amanda Nguyen, the 24-year-old activist who co-authored the bill alongside Shaheen. More than two years ago, Nguyen reported being raped in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and underwent a rape kit examination within 24 hours of the assault. Since then, she has had to request for an extension to keep her rape kit from being destroyed twice a year—a routine that she says forces her to repeatedly confront her experience of being sexually assaulted. Nguyen must request the extension even though Massachusetts has a 15-year statute of limitations on filing rape or sexual-assault charges.

"The six-month rule makes me live my life by date of rape," Nguyen said in an interview with the site Broadly in February. "It's so ludicrous, because in other states this isn't the case. Had I been raped in a state like California, Illinois, or Texas, this wouldn't happen to me."

"Justice shouldn't be dependent on geography. It's completely unconscionable that a survivor in one state would have a completely different set of rights than a survivor in another state," she added.

24 May 15:20

Netherlands is closing down more prisons because there’s no one to fill them with

by Alexandru Micu
Image via pixabayThe Netherlands' accent on rehabilitation and social re-integration of criminals seems to have finally paid off. The country no longer considers its prisons as economically viable and plans to close down another five such institutions.
24 May 18:10

Judge OKs potentially lethal lawsuit against the world's largest banks

by Cory Doctorow

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The biggest banks in the world have admitted to rigging LIBOR, a key interest rate that determines the value of trillions of dollars' worth of assets -- they paid billions in fines as a result. (more…)

23 May 22:59

Californians: this is your last day to register to vote in the Democratic primary

by Cory Doctorow
ca-postcard

California holds semi-closed primaries: that means that if you want to cast a vote for Bernie Sanders, you have to be registered as an independent (not as a member of the racist, homophobic "American Independent Party") or a Democrat. Today is the deadline and you can change your affiliation online -- the primary is June 7. (more…)

23 May 10:00

Everything That's Wrong With Mass Incarceration, in One Film

by Clara Jeffery

In November 2012, Californians voted in favor of the Three Strikes Reform Act (Proposition 36); no longer would their state be the only one to punish minor crimes with a life sentence. As a result, almost 3,000 inmates—some of whom had been sentenced to life for crimes like stealing a pair of socks—were immediately eligible for parole.

The ballot proposition had been written by Stanford Law professor Mike Romano, whose Three Strikes Project now had a new challenge on its hands: representing possible parolees at their hearing, and trying to line up transitional housing and services for them. Because just as California didn't consider the harm that Three Strikes would have on families and communities, it was now about to release those same prisoners without much, if any, support. Where would they go? What would they do? What was left of the life they'd left behind? And how to avoid the pitfalls that landed them in prison in the first place? 

The Return, a film by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway that airs Monday night on PBS's POV series, follows two men as they try to reintegrate into society: Kenny Anderson, whose children and ex-wife welcome him back into their lives, but who struggles with mental-health issues, and Bilal Chatman, whose story of redemption is possibly the most heartwarming thing I've seen all year. (See John Oliver interview him here.)

But Kenny and Bilal were lucky to have or forge support systems. Many parolees have none. They are often released with no warning. Sometimes in the middle of nowhere with no way to get home—if home still exists. Some jurisdictions deny federal food benefits to ex-cons with drug convictions. Relatives who live in public housing may be prohibited from even letting relatives with a drug record visit. And of course, job applicants who admit to a felony can be automatically banned. The list of barriers go on and on. No wonder half of all parolees reoffend.

Given that 95 percent of all inmates will eventually be released, it is in all of our best interest to help them try to succeed when they get out. The Return will take you on a roller coaster of emotion—a not insignificant portion of the San Francisco Film Festival audience I saw it with were openly sobbing—but you'll be left with an unshakable conviction that the horrors of mass incarceration don't end upon release. 

Interest declared: I know Kelly, Katie, and Mike. And also Jon Mooallem, who wrote a lovely piece about two ex-cons who drive to distant prisons to make sure parolees get a lift home for the New York Times Magazine.

23 May 03:30

Open Thread: 'Real' Estate

by Frances Langum
Open Thread:  'Real' Estate

H/T Capper.

Open thread...


22 May 18:30

Surprise, Surprise. Trump Has Another White Nationalist Delegate

by Heather
Surprise, Surprise. Trump Has Another White Nationalist Delegate

This should come as a shock to exactly no one. Just last week, Donald Trump took quite a bit of heat after the news broke that a white nationalist named William Johnson, was selected as a California delegate.

This week, another one came crawling out out the woodwork from Chicago: Donald Trump Has Another White Power-Loving Delegate:

Donald Trump has another delegate with controversial views on matters of race. Meet Chicago mortgage banker Lori Gayne:

"With all the racism going on today, I'm very proud to be white. Just like black people are proud to be black and now, as white people, whenever we say something critical we're punished as if we're racists. I'm tired of it. I'm very proud," Gayne said.

"I'm so angry I don't even feel like I live in America. You can call me a racist. Black Lives Matter? Those people are out of control," she said.

Gayne's Twitter account, which is only accessible to her followers, is called "whitepride":

The list just keeps growing.

read more

19 May 22:57

'Supernatural' Star Misha Collins Attends Trump Rally, Decides He's 'A F*ckhead'

by Frances Langum
'Supernatural' Star Misha Collins Attends Trump Rally, Decides He's 'A F*ckhead'

Note: This video ends with a swear word. Headphones at work.

The star of the immensely popular angels-and-devils CW show Supernatural, Misha Collins, posted this video to his Facebook page today. Misha plays an angel named Castiel, and if you don't watch, that's fine -- you don't need to know much more than that.

Just don't tell my 13 year old daughter or her Instagram feed I said that. She "can't even" when it comes to Supernatural, the TV show.

supernatural_cult.gif

But back to the political angle of this story.

Collins attended a Trump rally, somewhat in disguise. If someone was a fan of the show, they would know it was him; he told them his name was Misha. He carried his phone cam and interviewed people at the rally.

What he found would not be a surprise to anyone who reads C&L on a regular basis. Anti-immigrant, pro-torture, pro-White Supremacy, and aggrieved. That's who Misha Collins found at this rally, and he doesn't mince words about his opinion of this candidate and what he represents:

I am certainly going to actively oppose Donald Trump's candidacy, and I would encourage you to...to not be apathetic. Don't be complacent. Get out there, and make sure that...something...[scoffs] make sure that we don't end up with this f*ckhead in our White House.

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21 May 19:00

Donald Trump Never Raised Six Million For Our Veterans

by John Amato

We all know how much Donald Trump loves our veterans because he tells us so every chance he gets. He got so mad at Fox News that he skipped one of their debates in January and replaced his appearance there with a fundraiser for our wounded warriors in Iowa.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Tuesday he will boycott his party’s next nationally televised debate and instead hold an event to benefit wounded troops.

In comments to journalists before an Iowa rally, first reported by Politico and the Washington Post, the business mogul and GOP frontrunner accused Fox News of picking a “biased” moderator — network personality Megyn Kelly — to drive up ratings and hurt his campaign.

He bragged that he raised six million dollars in one evening, but something happened that has cast a dark shadow over the proceedings.

Where's the money?

One night in January, Donald Trump skipped a GOP debate and instead held his own televised fundraiser for veterans. At the end of the night, Trump proclaimed it a huge success: “We just cracked $6 million, right? Six million.”

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18 May 18:18

Samantha Bee Explains the Ugly History that Led the Religious Right to Trump's Door

by Grace Wilson

In the words of Samantha Bee, former GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz "was grown in a vat to be the perfect evangelical candidate." So how did he lose their support to a loud-mouthed New York billionaire? On Monday night's episode of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, the host joked: "Most evangelicals said, 'Nah, we're going to go with the thrice-married, foul-mouthed tit judge who likes Planned Parenthood and thinks Corinthians is a type of car upholstery.'"

Bee then unpacked the surprisingly brief but society-and-politics-changing relationship between the Republican party and the evangelical community from its very beginnings to the elections today. It started in the early 1970s when Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation—Bee describes him as a "Dwight Schrute understudy"—realized he could tap America's churches for "potential Republicans," and found the perfect vehicle in a prominent court case of the early 1970s.

"It wasn't abortion that birthed the religious right," she said. "It was good old white nativism and anti-government anger when the IRS challenged Evangelicals' God-given right to go to school without Black people."

Since then, the Republican platform has vehemently opposed abortion, sex education, gay marriage, and its priorities became religious freedom and "family values."

Bee offers a bit of optimism: The Religious Right has seen many of its most cherished causes defeated in the last 15 years. Gays can marry and serve in the military, and there has been overwhelming opposition in the business community and elsewhere to North Carolina's sweeping anti-transgender laws. "When North Carolina Republicans tried to get people to the polls with a bathroom culture war, the country held their heads in the toilet while the attorney general gave them a swirley," Bee said, referring to Loretta Lynch's condemnation of the new law.

Nonetheless, they still remain a powerful force, so much so that Donald Trump has courted them aggressively. With their strong support for Trump's presidential bid, Bee suggested, evangelicals may just be happy to "ditch the Bible" in exchange for "good old-fashioned white nativism and anti-government anger." 

And a special bonus on Monday night? In another segment, Bee gives Mother Jones (and our new redesign) a shout-out. Watch here:

18 May 01:00

Young Woman Harassed In WalMart For Appearing Transgendered

by Frances Langum
Young Woman Harassed In WalMart For Appearing Transgendered

If you think discrimination against transgender people has nothing to do with you, think again. A very brave young woman named Aimee Toms was washing her hands in a WalMart ladies' room when another customer flipped her off and called her 'disgusting.' Why? Because she appeared to be transgendered.

Aimee had cut her hair short because she donated her long hair -- for the third time -- to a wig program for cancer patients.

Note: her video contains swear words. Mine would, too.

This video had been viewed over 12,000 times by Sunday night. Aimee's local paper in Danbury Connecticut covered her courageous stand:

Toms believes the incident happened because of the national controversy sparked by a law that was passed in North Carolina attempting to force transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender they were identified as at birth. Since then, religious conservatives have launched a boycott of Walmart competitor Target, which has said transgender people are welcome to use its bathrooms freely. Nationally, Walmart has been silent on the issue.

read more

16 May 23:00

Whoops! VA Congressional Hopeful Shares His Porn Preferences On Facebook

by Sarah P
Whoops! VA Congressional Hopeful Shares His Porn Preferences On Facebook

A Virginia congressional candidate posted a screenshot to his Facebook page today that had a few tabs open that he probably didn't want public - porn sites! And he is a Republican! From Virginia! On a Facebook post he made May 10th he says:

"Hello, I am Mike Webb, conservative Independent running for Congress. In 2016, it's about choice; it's about leadership; and it's about time. Honest."

Showing his *true* Conservative views, Mike Webb (R) posted a screenshot to Facebook that includes a glimpse of his pornography tastes. The first two tabs read: "Layla Rivera Tight" and "Ivone Sexy Amateur." My guess is these are not political sites.

Here is the link (still active 6 hours after he posted it).

Does this man not have any friends who can call/email/pound on his door to tell him about this? Wow.

The comments are the best, though. Here are a few, with screengrabs of them underneath just in case he decides maybe he should delete the original post.

read more

16 May 10:00

Everything You Need to Know About Voter Suppression, in One 5-Minute Video

by AJ Vicens

Rachel Lears' new documentary The New Fight for Voting Rights opens with a montage of election lawn signs, the "I Voted" stickers passed out at polling locations, and the voice of the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the president of the North Carolina NAACP, saying, "The right to vote is a right dipped in blood, paid for by the death and the sacrifices."

Barber is part of a chorus of civil rights leaders, politicians, community organizers, and regular citizens speaking out about voting rights in North Carolina in the wake of a 2013 law that imposed sweeping restrictions on voting. The law, passed by the state's Republican legislature after the Supreme Court gutted a key portion of the Voting Rights Act, created a voter ID requirement, reduced early voting from 17 days to 10, eliminated same-day registration, and killed a program that preregistered 16- and 17-year-olds to vote. It also prevented ballots from being counted if they were cast in the wrong precinct.

In late April, a federal judge upheld most of those restrictions, putting North Carolina on the front lines of the national battle for voting rights. Although a group of civil rights groups has appealed the decision, the rules could stay in place for the November elections.

Lears hopes her five-minute film can help raise awareness about what's happening not only in North Carolina, but across the country, where 17 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the November general election. "The fight for access to the ballot is not a new thing in this country," says Lears, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker who brings an anthropological background to her work. "Most of us assume that the battle was won decades ago."

Lears and her husband, Robin Blotnick, co-directed The Hand That Feeds, an award-winning, full-length documentary in 2014 that showcased the efforts of low-wage workers trying to secure basic employment rights. For Lears, the voting rights project is significant because it highlights an issue that touches every facet of American politics and society.

"There isn't any other issue nationally that isn't affected by the right to vote and choose elected officials from the local to the national level," Lears says. "If what you care about is police accountability, health care, economic inequality, foreign policy—expanding access to the ballot will make the country more democratic."

The New Fight for Voting Rights is part of the Take 5: Justice in America series, a collection of five short films commissioned by AMC Networks' SundanceNow Doc Club, the network's curated documentary on-demand service that will stream for free online. The pieces are all live at TAKE5.docclub.com.

The network commissioned the pieces to focus on a "significant and widely debated social justice issue," according to a statement released by AMC, and it hopes the short films that focus on gentrification, the criminal justice system, the working poor, and easy access to guns will be more sharable than longer works.

13 May 16:19

Watch Penn and Teller's anti-anti-vaccine rant

by David Pescovitz
screenshot

Penn and Teller's classic takedown of anti-vax bullshittery. And if you don't know, now you know.

screenshot

12 May 05:04

Mother goose sought help from police officer before leading him to gosling tangled in string

by arbroath
Sergeant James Givens is not used to seeing a goose pecking at his cruiser door, but that's what happened on Monday - and initially the veteran Cincinnati officer thought the goose was simply hungry. "It kept pecking and pecking and normally they don't come near us.



"Then it walked away and then it stopped and looked back so I followed it and it led me right over to the baby that was tangled up in all that string," Givens said. The string was tied to a Mother's Day balloon among some of the litter near Mill Creek. Givens shot video on his cellphone.

He and Specialist Cecilia Charron called the SPCA, but no one was immediately available to come out. So Charron took matters into her own hands. "Well she has a couple of kids of her own and I guess that motherly instinct must've kicked in because it was like they communicated. The mother goose didn't bother her," Given said.


YouTube link. Facebook video link.

"So Specialist Charron came and untangled it. It took her a while because it was all wrapped up. I always thought that they were afraid of people and people say they will attack you if you get close to their young'uns and I was just surprised." Givens said it's something you don't see every day.
05 May 19:15

Tow Truck Driver Refuses To Tow Bernie Supporter's Car

by Karoli Kuns
Electrikmonkrjs

Please sue him. The company and driver need to be made an example of.

Tow Truck Driver Refuses To Tow Bernie Supporter's Car

Imagine being 25 years old and having your car hit by a truck. Your car with the Bernie Sanders sticker on the back of it.

Imagine being 25 years old and suffering from chronic disease and having the tow truck driver inform you that no, he's not going to tow your car. He's going to let you sit on the side of the road because he's a Christian, and he's "drawn a line in the sand."

That happened.

“He said, ‘I can’t tow you ... you’re a Bernie supporter,’” McWade recalled. “I was like, ‘Wait, are you serious? You’re kidding me.’”

Ken Shupe, a 51-year-old from Travelers Rest, South Carolina, was very serious. “I’m a conservative Christian, I’ve just drawn a line in the sand,” he said. “I’m not going to associate or conduct business with them.” (The incident was first reported by FOX Carolina 21.)

McWade was heading home to Travelers Rest on I-26 when a tractor trailer hit the front of her car, she said. Afterward, her car wouldn’t start, and a first responder moved it to the side of the interstate. The driver’s door was approximately two feet from the highway line, she recalled.

McWade said she collects disability payments and has psoriatic arthritis, impaired mobility, early stage Crohn’s disease, severe fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. (She sent HuffPost a picture of the disability tag, as well as a photo of her many medications.)

read more

05 May 21:36

Top Gun Lobbyist Calls Hundreds of Child Gun Deaths "Occasional Mishaps"

by Mark Follman

In an in-depth investigation in 2013, Mother Jones found that guns kill hundreds of children per year in the United States. Many die in homicides, and many others die in accidents—mostly when children themselves pull the trigger. The kids shooting themselves or others have often been as young as two or three years old. Invariably these "tragedies" result from adults leaving unsecured firearms lying around in their homes or, in some cases, in their cars.

Since our investigation, the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety has collected additional data confirming the scope of the problem. As the New York Times reported on Thursday, during one week in April four toddlers around the country killed themselves with guns, and a mother was fatally shot by her two-year-old while driving, after the child apparently picked up a weapon that slid out from under the driver's seat. The data remains stark: "In 2015, there were at least 278 unintentional shootings at the hands of young children and teenagers, according to Everytown's database," the Times reported. "A child who accidentally pulls the trigger is most likely to be 3 years old, the statistics show."

Equally stark is the response from the gun lobby. There has been growing debate about laws aimed at reducing the problem, which, as our investigation showed, has long gone underreported. Larry Pratt, a leading figure among hardline pro-gun activists, argues that tighter gun regulations are not the answer. In comments to the Times, Pratt called the hundreds of child gun deaths that occur each year "occasional mishaps":

"It's clearly a tragedy, but it's not something that's widespread," said Larry Pratt, a spokesman and former executive director of Gun Owners of America. "To base public policy on occasional mishaps would be a grave mistake."

As the Times piece notes, 27 states now have laws that hold adults responsible for letting unsupervised children get their hands on guns. Gun safety advocates have increasingly pushed for tougher laws requiring owners to use trigger locks, gun safes, or other measures for safe storage and use. Another potential solution that's been gaining new interest is smart-gun technology. But gun lobbying groups including Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association have long opposed these policies across the board, claiming that they threaten Americans' Second Amendment rights.

Even in states with laws on the books, the contentious politics tends to quash appetite among prosecutors for holding adults accountable when young children accidentally kill. Here, the data goes from stark to perhaps stunning: In 2013 we documented 52 cases where adults had left their guns unsecured—but we could only find four people who were held criminally liable for the children's deaths.

The following year I covered this problem in more detail, in a story chronicling the rise of a new advocacy group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Particularly in more rural communities, a prevailing theme has been that parents—including a few who accidentally shot their own children—have already suffered enough and shouldn't be punished:

Last Christmas Eve in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a man who'd been "messing with" a 9 mm handgun unintentionally shot and killed his two-month-old daughter as she slept in her glider. The coroner ruled the death a homicide, yet local law enforcement officials said they were undecided about pursuing criminal charges. Typically that might've been the end of it, but Moms Demand Action voiced outrage via social media and the local press. Within two weeks the DA announced plans to prosecute. (He said no outside group influenced his decision.)

"While we fully support the father being held accountable for this crime, we also acknowledge the horrific grief this family is experiencing," Moms Demand Action said after the charges were announced. "We hope their tragedy can serve as an example that encourages others to be more responsible with their firearms." The father later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment, which could have brought up to 15 years in prison. He got six years' probation and no jail time.

Moms also drew attention to a case in February in North Carolina, where a three-year-old boy wounded his 17-month-old sister after finding a handgun that their father—who wrote a parenting advice column in a local paper—had left unsecured. (The infant recovered.) "The parents have been punished more than any criminal justice system can do to them," a captain from the county sheriff's department said soon after the shooting. After Moms swung into action, the father was charged with failure to secure his firearm to protect a minor; his case is pending.

"All too often DAs are loath to get involved, saying a family has suffered enough," Watts says, "especially in states where laws are inadequate…This idea of 'accidental' gun deaths, when something is truly negligence, has to be remedied."

For its part, the gun lobby prefers to keep the focus on other fears. On Thursday, the NRA made no reference to the latest data on child gun deaths. On its blog, a post—topped by an image of a toddler biking—offered "10 Tips That Could Save Your Life." The "home" segment of the list made no mention of safely storing firearms, but instead focused on the specter of a home invasion. "To deal with this possibility," it said, "be prepared by making a home defense plan and setting up a safe room with your family." The room should be equipped with a phone for calling 911, it said, and a "personal protection device" such as "mace, batons, Tasers, stun guns, or firearm."

The NRA's Twitter feed otherwise attended to politics, denouncing an apparent conspiracy by the Social Security Administration to conduct "the largest gun grab in American history," and firing away at "Hillary Clinton's 6-part plan to disarm citizens — and rip apart the #2A."

05 May 21:50

Trump's New Finance Chair Led a Bank That Made Millions Off Taxpayer Bailouts

by Russ Choma

Donald Trump has slammed Washington insiders, lobbyists, and Wall Street as he has tapped populist anger to snag the Republican presidential nomination. Yet when it came time to pick the top money man for his campaign, he turned to a hedge-funder best known for running a bank that made billions off taxpayer bailouts and, by one account, cost the federal government $13 billion.

On Thursday, Trump named Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner and a hedge-fund boss from Los Angeles, as his national campaign finance chairman. Mnuchin has worked with many of Wall Street's biggest firms, but he is perhaps best known for his leadership in organizing the takeover of IndyMac's failed subprime mortgage business in 2009. Mnuchin organized a team of billionaires to buy the California-based bank's assets from the FDIC after the government insurance fund had taken over the bank. Mnuchin's group paid roughly $1.55 billion and received a promise from the FDIC to cover a portion of the losses on bad loans within the IndyMac pool. The FDIC's losses on these assets have since ballooned to an estimated $13 billion.

The FDIC took on most of the risk, but Mnuchin and his partners, who named their new bank OneWest, ended up doing spectacularly well. They parlayed their $1.55 billion investment into a $3.4 billion payday last year, when Mnuchin engineered the sale of OneWest to another California bank, CIT. Along the way, OneWest issued more than $2 billion worth of dividends to shareholders. The tremendous profits the bank made, with taxpayers on the hook for IndyMac's bad bets, raised eyebrows across the industry.

OneWest's owners got a great deal when they bought IndyMac's failed business from the FDIC (with a hefty dose of risk protection, care of US taxpayers), but the bank has not been lenient with homeowners who have found themselves in financial trouble. In fact, OneWest was targeted by regulators, who found the bank was unrepentant in the face of questioning. In one investigation of predatory loan practices, OneWest was the only bank that refused to settle. The bank also was the target of angry homeowners who filed lawsuits around the country that accused the bank of being overly aggressive in foreclosing. In one notable 2009 case that turned into a cause celebre for opponents of predatory loan practices, a Minnesota woman found herself locked out of her mother's house in the middle of a blizzard after OneWest took the house and changed the locks while still in negotiations to refinance the home.

Mnuchin's record seems at odds with Trump's purported populism. When it comes to fundraising, it appears Trump is hardly an unconventional candidate: It's the money that matters.

04 May 14:00

United Nations Expresses Concerns About Serious Human Rights Violations In Flint

by Sarah P

The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner has put out a statement ahead of President Obama's visit to Flint, Michigan regarding ongoing human rights violations following the nearly two-year poison water scandal.

It starts by recognizing that water is a human right, regardless of poverty or income:

“The Flint case dramatically illustrates the suffering and difficulties that flow from failing to recognize that water is a human right, from failing to ensure that essential services are provided in a non-discriminatory manner, and from treating those who live in poverty in ways that exacerbate their plight"

It goes on to say what we all know to be true - this would never ever in a million years have happened if the town of Flint was well off or white. Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights said:

“Decisions would never have been made in the high-handed and cavalier manner that occurred in Flint if the affected population group was well-off or overwhelmingly white."

Bingo. He went on to say:

“Elected officials would have been much more careful, there would have been a timely response to complaints rather than summary dismissals of concerns, and official accountability would have been insisted upon much sooner.”

read more

29 Apr 16:13

Lemur demands backrub

by Mark Frauenfelder
Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 9.12.57 AM

Before humans descended on the island of Madagascar there was a species of lemur as a big as gorilla. Today, the largest lemur weighs 20 lbs. (The smallest, the mouse lemur, weighs 1.1 oz, and has "the smallest known brain of any primate, at just 2 grams," according to Wikipdia.). I'm not sure what kind of lemur this is, but it likes to have people scratch its back. (And this is not a video that should make you feel good, says Barbara J. King, an anthropology professor at the College of William and Mary.)

26 Apr 03:03

archatlas: micdotcom: Watch: Lin-Manuel Miranda tops off John...





















archatlas:

micdotcom:

Watch: Lin-Manuel Miranda tops off John Oliver’s Puerto Rico segment with a rap for Congress.

To all my followers unaware of this, archatlas is from Puerto Rico and I wish the US would pay attention to this and Congress would put an end to this situation. We are being played with by Congress because by definition we are their property, not a state or an independent country. If this was happening in NY or California there would be a number of bills to help the state get back on their feet. And if you think that we are just parasites or beggers, think that we pay a tax to the US every time a product reaches our shores, we go to war with you, we don’t get to vote for the President, we don’t have a vote in Congress and we cannot have political or economical ties with anyone but the US, by law. 

10 Apr 20:48

American Airlines Removes Young Turks’ Host from Flight for Recording Customer Service Chaos

by Carlos Miller

American Airlines kicked a well-known reporter off a flight after he complained about it being delayed while live streaming inside a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday.

Cenk Uygur, who hosts the liberal-leaning Young Turks online news show, was told the “captain didn’t feel comfortable” with him getting on the flight.

He was escorted away by a police officer, whom he said apologized to him for having to remove him.

But it was only after he posted his initial video to YouTube where it went viral that he was informed by American Airlines that he had been removed from the flight for video recording.

Turns out, American Airlines introduced a policy in December 2014 forbidding passengers from video recording its employees on planes and inside terminals, including ticket counters, which obviously includes an customer service interactions.

The policy came in place after several instances on other airlines where passengers uploaded videos of interactions with rude employees, sparking national embarrassment for the airline.

So American Airlines figured it would save itself that embarrassment by removing Uygur for recording during a four-hour delay for a flight from Los Angeles to Miami.

But that plan may have just backfired on them as they did not appear to be aware of his online clout, which resulted in dozens of readers contacting the airline to complain about his removal. They even created a hashtag on Twitter, #Cenkonaplane, to spread the word as far as possible.

American Airlines does not appear to have any intention to even reimburse him for his ticket, which he said cost him about $1,000.

Another man also was removed from the flight after he was accused of smoking marijuana, but Uygur said nobody saw him smoke pot.

American Airlines told the Washington Post last year the policy forbidding photography was in place to “protect employees and customers.”

Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration has long allowed videography at security checkpoints, even though screeners many times like to pretend otherwise.

Uygur ended up having to switch to JetBlue to make his flight to Florida, apparently flying into Fort Lauderdale because JetBlue does not fly into Miami International Airport, which was his original destination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post American Airlines Removes Young Turks’ Host from Flight for Recording Customer Service Chaos appeared first on PINAC News.

23 Apr 03:30

Open Thread - A Solution For North Carolina

by Frances Langum
Open Thread - A Solution For North Carolina

Open Thread below...


21 Apr 04:03

A Native American Chief Should Have Replaced Andrew Jackson on the $20

by Paul Ratner

The decision to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 brought up an opportunity to feature historical Native American leaders on U.S. currency. 



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19 Apr 19:28

Powerful photographic portraits of Veterans For Bernie Sanders

by Xeni Jardin

raphael3

My photographer friend Clayton Cubitt, whom I met here in the Boing Boing comments a decade ago, did an amazing project to support the campaign of U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

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12 Apr 17:00

What You Should Know About Congress's Latest Attempt to Criminalize Encryption

by Eric Ravenscraft

A new draft bill in Congress will force tech companies to undermine or break their own security features and encryption anytime law enforcement asks them to. Sound terrible? It is. Here’s what the bill says, and what you can do about it.

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10 Apr 12:00

Sunday Morning Bobblehead Thread

by Heather
Sunday Morning Bobblehead Thread

(The Daily Show's Trevor Noah with the most cringe worthy Donald Trump clip yet, speculating about the potential physical attributes of his then infant daughter.)

Happy Sunday morning everyone! Presidential politics are dominating the talking head shows once again this weekend, and for some unknown reason, President Obama has decided to appear on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and give the "fair and balanced" GOP TV propaganda channel some fodder to attack him over as soon as the interview finishes airing.

Why is beyond me, but no one from his team of advisers is asking me for my input on what television appearances he should be making.

The rest of the shows are dominated by the usual suspects, which means, as always, that any actual liberals that are allowed on these shows are outnumbered by a margin of five or ten to one by their right wing or beltway both siderist counterparts.

Here's the lineup for this Sunday, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel (check your local listings for times and stations in your area): Obama, Clinton, Sanders: Sunday guests:

Obama talks to "Fox News Sunday" at 10 a.m. on WOFL-Channel 35. The panel will be Juan Williams, George Will, Anne Gearan of The Washington Post and Karl Rove, former Bush White House adviser. The interview repeats at 2, 6 and 9 p.m. Sunday on Fox News Channel.

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06 Apr 17:30

The GOP is finally being honest about Voter ID

by noreply@blogger.com (digby)
The GOP is finally being honest about Voter ID

by digby
















They're admitting it up front:



29 Mar 16:18

New Video Shows Trump Campaign Manager Grabbing a Reporter. Here Are All the Times the Trump Campaign Denied It.

by Pema Levy
Electrikmonkrjs

The worst part is, he thinks he is innocent because he thinks what he did is ok,

Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's campaign manager, was charged with misdemeanor battery on Tuesday for forcibly grabbing Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields on March 8 in Jupiter, Florida. According to the Palm Beach Post, Lewandowski turned himself in to police in Jupiter on Tuesday morning, about two weeks after Fields filed a complaint with the police. The Jupiter Police Department released this video of the incident on Tuesday:

 

 

Despite the new evidence, and multiple earlier reports that Lewandowski had grabbed Fields, the Trump campaign is still proclaiming Lewandoswki's innocence, declaring in a statement that he "is absolutely innocent of this charge" and "will enter a plea of not guilty and looks forward to his day in court." It's hardly the first denial from the Trump campaign. Here is a list of those denials.

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28 Mar 10:00

This Is What It's Like to Try to Sue Donald Trump

by Hannah Levintova

Of the many targets of Republican presidential contenders' attacks on Donald Trump—and there have been plenty to choose from—one of their favorites has been Trump University. The now-shuttered educational enterprise (forced to change its name to the Trump Entrepreneur Initiative after the New York education department found its moniker to be misleading) is accused, in three separate lawsuits, of defrauding thousands of students into taking on massive debt they now can't pay back by falsely marketing itself as a road to Trump-level wealth and business success.

But Trump University isn't the only Trump endeavor that has landed in court. The tycoon has launched—or lent his name to—a slew of business ventures that have yielded frustrated customers and investors who have sought legal recourse. There are hundreds of lawsuits extending over 43 years that name Trump or one of his businesses. Here's an incomplete list of some of those legal skirmishes that began when Trump joined his father's business and continue through his run for the GOP nomination.

Trump Management: In 1973, the Department of Justice brought a lawsuit against Donald Trump and his father's company, Trump Management, for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act in connection with 39 buildings it operated. The DOJ alleged that building administrators racially coded apartment applications to secretly ensure that black applicants would be denied. The case was settled in 1975, without an admission of guilt from Trump Management.

Trump Tower: In 1980, Trump hired a contractor to demolish an old building to clear the way for Trump Tower, the midtown Manhattan skyscraper that today houses Trump's main digs and the headquarters of the Trump Organization. To meet Trump's deadline, the contractor hired 200 undocumented Polish laborers and kept them off the books, paying them $4 or $5 an hour—the minimum wage in 1980 was $3.10—and often requiring that they work 12-hour days with no overtime. In 1983, members of the local Wreckers Union filed a class-action lawsuit against Trump for $4 million in unpaid union pensions and other contributions that would help increase benefits for some of the Polish workers. Many of the workers also alleged that they hadn't been paid the full wages they were due. Throughout the case and even recently, Trump has insisted that he wasn't aware his contractor had hired these Polish workers. The courts didn't buy it. "We find that a conspiracy to deprive the funds of their rightful contributions has been shown," wrote the district court judge in a 1991 ruling. "There is strong evidence of tacit agreement by the parties…to employ the Polish workers and to deprive them of the benefits ordinarily accorded to non-union workers on a union job, including contributions to the funds based on their wages." The case was settled in 1999 for an undisclosed amount and sealed, but Rubio brought it up several times during a GOP debate in February.

Trump's Atlantic City casinos: Between 1991 and 2009, four Trump ventures declared bankruptcy, three of them involving his hotel and casino empire in Atlantic City, New Jersey. These bankruptcies spawned a number of lawsuits. Here are three, including one from his own lawyer:

  • Trump was sued by a market analyst who predicted the bankruptcy of the Trump Taj Mahal casino years before it opened in 1990: When Trump was planning the Taj Mahal in the late 1980s, a market analyst named Marvin Roffman made it clear that he thought the venture wouldn't succeed. Two weeks before the casino's opening, after his dismal prediction about the casino's future was quoted in the Wall Street Journal, a furious Trump called the Philadelphia brokerage firm where he worked, Janney Montgomery Scott, demanding an apology and threatening to sue. Roffman issued an apology, rescinded it, and was then fired. First Roffman sued his former firm for wrongful termination—settling for $750,000—and then, in July 1990, he sued Trump, later settling for an undisclosed amount.
  • Trump's shareholders begged the bankruptcy court to derail Trump's plan to reorganize his Atlantic City casinos as a "basket of goodies" for himself: In 2004, Trump Hotel & Casino Resorts declared bankruptcy. When the company and the bankruptcy court came up with a plan to reorganize the business, stockholders in the company filed documents with the bankruptcy court asking the judge to cut off Trump's exclusive right to direct the reorganization of the casinos. They wrote in their filing that the current plan gave a "basket of goodies" to Trump—including a $2 million-a-year salary for his job as chairman—leaving virtually nothing for investors. Ultimately, the shareholders' appeals were acknowledged and Trump Hotel & Casino Resorts agreed to pay the investors $17.5 million. It is unclear what happened to Trump's salary.
  • A law firm won $50 million for Trump Entertainment but then had to sue its former client after Trump Entertainment tried to avoid paying its legal fees by claiming bankruptcy: In 2008, the law firm Levine Staller began filing tax appeals for the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, and Trump Marina. Its work saved Trump's company lots of money: In 2012, Levine Staller won a settlement that returned $35 million in overpaid taxes and cut $15 million from the company's future liabilities, leading to a total savings of $50 million for the corporation. Trump agreed to pay $7.25 million to the law firm in legal fees, but then only paid Levine Staller $6 million before trying to claim the rest as unsecured debt in ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. In response, Levine Staller sued its former client, Trump Entertainment, and in 2014, a judge rejected Trump Entertainment's request to be absolved of this debt and told the company to pay up.
  • Two Trump casino dealers filed (and later lost) a sex discrimination case after they were fired for wearing ponytails: In 1996, two male casino dealers at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City got fired after repeatedly refusing to comply with a new grooming policy at the casino that required men's hair to be no longer than "mid-collar." Both dealers wore ponytails and received multiple warnings before being terminated. Once officially fired, they filed a case against Trump Plaza alleging that sex-differentiated hair policies are discriminatory, as well as several other charges. Both a lower court and the superior court of New Jersey ruled on behalf of Trump Plaza, saying that the hair length policy did not constitute sex discrimination.

Trump SoHo: In 2010, a group of buyers who had purchased condos at Trump SoHo, a luxury hotel and condo building in lower Manhattan, sued the Trump Organization, which managed the building, and the group of developers who had constructed it. They alleged that they were duped into buying these properties by representatives of Trump SoHo, who had exaggerated the building's sales and instilled a false sense of confidence in future buyers about the project's potential for success. The building was planned as a mixed-use condo and hotel project: Buyers could live in their properties only for a designated number of days each year, and the rest of the time their homes would be rented to hotel guests, with the buyer and Trump SoHo sharing rental revenue. In their complaint, the buyers said they had been misled in the personal pitches and statements to the press made by representatives of Trump SoHo, who said the project was "30, 40, 50, 60 percent or more" sold. In reality, only 16 percent of the building's units were sold—just 1 percent more than is needed to start an offering plan, a document for buyers that outlines the details of a construction project that is under development. A year later, the buyers settled with the sponsors of Trump SoHo after they promised to refund 90 percent of the apartment deposits. Trump SoHo was completed in 2010 and was purchased by CIM Group in 2014 after going into foreclosure proceedings because it couldn't find enough buyers. Roughly two-thirds of the units still haven't been sold.

Trump Tower Tampa:  In 2009, a group of at least 20 condo buyers sued Trump for overselling his role in the development of a luxury condo project in Tampa, Florida, that was ultimately never built and remains an empty lot to this day. Buyers put down 20 percent deposits on 190 units that cost between $700,000 and nearly $6 million, in part because the project's marketing materials persuaded them that Trump was behind the development of the building. In fact, he had only lent his name to the project through a licensing agreement. The case was ultimately settled, with some buyers getting back as little as $11,115, after investing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Trump Baja: Tampa was not the only place where condo buyers sued Trump for overselling his role in a project. In 2010, more than 100 condo buyers sued Trump after they lost millions of dollars in deposits they'd put down on apartments in Trump Ocean Resort Baja, a planned luxury oceanfront hotel and condo building near Tijuana, Mexico, that was never built. The property was foreclosed on in 2008, in the middle of the financial crisis, before construction had begun. Buyers had been given the impression that Trump was developing the property—a selling point for many—but when the project was foreclosed on, it turned out that he had merely licensed his name to the venture. The lawsuit accused Trump of fraud and violating federal disclosure laws, among other charges, and a confidential settlement was secured in 2013.

Trump Model Management: In October 2014, Jamaican fashion model Alexia Palmer filed a lawsuit against Trump's modeling agency. She alleged that Trump Model Management had engaged in "fraudulent misrepresentation" and violated immigration and labor laws when it agreed, as part of her visa application, to pay her a $75,000 annual salary, but then didn't pay anywhere close to that amount. Palmer says she was paid just $3,880.75 over three years. Trump Model Management filed a motion to dismiss the case, and a New York district judge dismissed the case in March 2016.

The chefs: In June 2015, while announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination, Trump memorably described Mexican immigrants as criminals and "rapists." On July 8, acclaimed restaurateur José Andrés  announced that he was pulling his restaurant from Trump's planned Washington, DC, hotel due to the candidate's comments. Shortly after, Geoffrey Zakarian, a second chef with an agreement to open an eatery at the hotel, also withdrew. In July and August, Trump sued Andrés' company and Zakarian's firm for breach of contract, asking each for $10 million in damages and lost rent. About a month later, both chefs countersued Trump, alleging that the real breach of contract was on his side. As Andrés explained in his lawsuit, which sought $8 million in damages, Trump's decision to disparage immigrants made it difficult to run a Spanish restaurant associated with his name. From Andrés' complaint: "The perception that Mr. Trump's statements were anti-Hispanic made it very difficult to recruit appropriate staff for a Hispanic restaurant, to attract the requisite number of Hispanic food patrons for a profitable enterprise, and to raise capital for what was now an extraordinarily risky Spanish restaurant." BLT Prime, a steak restaurant chain, has since agreed to open a location in Trump's DC hotel.

In February, as proceedings in the Andrés-Trump legal battle moved forward, internal Trump organization emails were submitted as part of court proceedings. After an email from Andrés' company said the company was getting blowback over Trump's statements on immigrants, a Trump Organization vice president sent an email to Ivanka Trump. "Ugh," the vice president wrote. "This is not surprising and would expect that this will not be the last that we hear of it. At least for formal, prepared speeches, can someone vet going forward? Hopefully the Latino community does not organize against us more broadly in DC/across Trump properties."