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August 29, 2013
Stunning sentence in rape case leaves student’s mother, community in shock
- 2010 A 16-year-old student from Billings, Montana killed herself, just days before her 17th birthday, while police were investigating a man accused of having sex with the young girl when she was only 14. Stacy Dean Rambold initially avoided charges, by agreeing to attend a sex-offender treatment program and avoid unsupervised contact with minors, but was arrested after being discharged for having unsupervised contact with underage family members.
- 2013 Montana District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced the young girl’s rapist to 15 years in prison, only to suspend all but 31 days of the sentence and give the newly convicted sex offender a one day credit for time served. When justifying his decision, he claimed that he believed the now deceased victim was “just as much in control” of the situation, later adding that “It was horrible enough as it is just given her age, but it wasn’t this forcible beat-up rape.” source
16:15 // 3 months ago
August 28, 2013
The depressing evolution of the “Cory Booker might be gay” meme
- Monday “People who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful, because I want to challenge people on their homophobia,” Booker told the Washington Post. “I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it.’”
- Tuesday “It’s kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy,” Booker’s Republican Senate opponent, Steve Lonegan, stated in the kind of comment you want to never read again. “I don’t know if you saw the stories last year. They’ve been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure.”
- Wednesday Newly besieged by questions on the issue because his opponent is a jerk, Booker said this: “I don’t intend to answer. It should not matter. That was my point.”
20:23 // 3 months ago
August 25, 2013
U.S. toughens rhetoric after Syrian chemical attacks
- cause Last week’s deadly chemical weapons attack near Damascus, which killed hundreds, has drawn significant attention from the international community—including a request from the United Nations to investigate the scene. The Syrian government, after holding back on allowing such an investigation to take place, announced it would make room for UN inspectors on Monday.
- reaction The U.S. government appears to be losing patience with the the Syrian government, with a White House official offering this take on the situation: “At this juncture, the belated decision by the regime to grant access to the UN team is too late to be credible, including because the evidence available has been significantly corrupted as a result of the regime’s persistent shelling and other intentional actions over the last five days.” Reports suggest that the U.S. government may be prepared for a military strike—which would be a significant change in approach. source
18:02 // 3 months ago
August 15, 2013
Obama’s tough stance on military sexual assault apparently a little too blunt
- then In a May speech, President Obama took a hard-line stance against sexual assault cases in the military. “I don’t want just more speeches or awareness programs or training but, ultimately, folks look the other way,” he said at the time. “If we find out somebody is engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable - prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”
- now After a number of cases were directly swayed by the president’s comments, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sent out a letter softening the administration’s stance on the issue, in part because the move was seen as an unlawful influence in legal cases by defense attorneys. “There are no expected or required dispositions, outcomes or sentences in any military justice case, other than what result from the individual facts and merits of a case and the application to the case of the fundamentals of due process of law,” he wrote in a letter obtained by the The New York Times. Nonetheless, Hagel is working on improving internal structures to ensure such cases are not swept under the rug. source
19:58 // 3 months ago
August 9, 2013
"Breaking" news: Companies that sell smartphones are really petty
- last week Apple, facing a potential ban of some of its older iOS devices, successfully petitioned the Obama administration to veto a decision by the International Trade Commission that would have banned the import of the company’s devices into the U.S., due to the company violating patents its competitor, Samsung, owned. The Obama administration said that the patents were fundamental to the creation mobile devices and were being abused by Samsung. It was the first time the president vetoed an ITC patent decision since 1987.
- this week The tables have turned. In another patent case involving Samsung’s Galaxy devices, the ITC found the company in violation of Apple’s patents, putting them in danger of an import ban. One major difference here: The patents Apple was accused of violating? Seen as essential. The patents Samsung’s accused of violating? Not essential, though Samsung says it can easily modify software to get around the issue. Anyone like it when companies fight in public? source
18:48 // 4 months ago
August 8, 2013
Missing: One Scientology leader’s wife. Or maybe she isn’t. Who knows?!
- missing? After becoming a bit of a headache for the Church of Scientology in recent weeks due to her high-profile departure, actress Leah Remini filed a missing persons report, asking for the whereabouts of Shelly Miscavige, the wife of church leader David Miscavige. Shelly has not been seen in public since around the time Remini’s show, “The King of Queens,” went off the air in 2007.
- not missing However, just a few hours after the filing hit the press, police dismissed the report, calling it “unfounded.” “Any reports that she is missing are false,” Miscavige’s lawyer said. “Mrs. Miscavige has been working non-stop in the Church, as she always has.” Our guess: She’s been sitting in her room, watching reruns of “The King of Queens” religiously. source
23:38 // 4 months ago
August 7, 2013
U.S. - Russia summit cancelled in response to Edward Snowden asylum decision
- Last Week Russia granted temporary asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, despite the protestations of the U.S. government, presumably ending any chance that Snowden will ever face federal charges in the United States.
- This Week President Obama called off a previously scheduled trip to Russia for one-on-one meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, going so far as to tell Tonight Show host Jay Leno that Russia has a tendency to slip into a “Cold War mentality” from time to time. source
16:23 // 4 months ago
August 6, 2013
U.S. orders embassy personnel, other citizens out of Yemen as soon as possible
- Friday The United States urged caution on the part of any/all citizens traveling abroad; specifically those currently in or headed to Northern Africa and/or the Middle East, following the discovery of a credible threat by possible terrorists apparently allied with al-Qaeda. Relatively little information about a specific target(s) was released; however, the White House made clear the directives were the result of a very real threat.
- Tuesday U.S. civilians in Yemen are being urged to leave the country and the White House has ordered the evacuation of U.S. embassy staff as both the U.S. and Yemeni government brace for possible attacks that could include dozens of al-Qaeda operatives. The unprecedented local response is apparently in response to intercepted communications between al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula commander Nasser al-Wuhayshi. source
14:52 // 4 months ago
August 5, 2013
House GOP members can’t seem to remember that ACORN isn’t a thing anymore
- 2010 The community organizing group known as ACORN disbanded, following a national scandal which began after a video released by James O’Keefe appeared to show organization members giving tax avoidance advice to a young man (rather unbelievably) claiming to be a pimp to a young woman also seen in the video.
- 2013 House Republicans add an amendment to a bill currently under consideration, which would ban ACORN from receiving government funding of any kind, for the thirteenth time since the organization folded three years ago. source
14:19 // 4 months ago
July 22, 2013
Attorney confirms Edward Snowden could leave Russia by week’s end
- Last week It looked as if a continued inability to secure a means of travel to another friendly country would force Edward Snowden to seek asylum in Russia, presumably ending any chance of additional leaks from the NSA whistleblower.
- This week It appears Snowden might be able to leave Russia after all, after attorney Anatoly Kucherena revealed Snowden is currently awaiting travel papers, and could leave Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on a flight (presumably) bound for an asylum-granting Latin American nation later this week. source
16:30 // 4 months ago