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Sexual Assault on Airplanes Is Way Too Common, and #MeToo Could Change That

January 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Emily C. Bell, AlterNet

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Passengers are telling their stories.


Over the past year, airlines have increasingly come under fire for racist incidents—and now, for sexual assault. Though incidents of sexual assault and harassment on airplanes are far from new, the first week of 2018 has already seen one story break about a woman sexually assaulted on a Spirit Airlines flight. As 2017 brought more attention to the occurrence of harassment, all eyes are now on corporate airlines for their failure to appropriately address the abuse.

The International Air Transport Association stated that worldwide last year there were 211 incidents of “inappropriate sexual behavior.” Of those, IATA said less than 50 percent were subsequently sent to the authorities and airlines are unable to file charges in these instances. Thus, a spokesperson told Reuters they “believe under-reporting occurs.”

A 2,000-person survey by the Association of Flight Attendants found that one-fifth of responding flight attendants “had dealt with complaints of sexual assault from passengers,” as the Seattle Times reported. Also of the survey’s finding, the Seattle Times wrote, “that law enforcement was contacted or met the plane less than half of the time.”

Here are some recent incidents that have come to light.

1. Randi Zuckerberg’s experience on Alaska Airlines.

Randi Zuckerberg, the CEO of Zuckerberg Media (and sister to Facebook’s Mark), was sexually harassed on a flight from Los Angeles to Mazatlan, Mexico, at the end of November. She shared the letter she sent to Alaska Airlines on Facebook:

Alaska Airlines launched an investigation and suspended the passenger's “travel privileges.” One of the issues Zuckerberg highlighted was the crew’s offer to move her from first class to a seat in the rear of the plane, which she declined. She wrote, “Why is it the woman that needs …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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When Popes Become Penitents: The History of Papal Apologies

January 18, 2018 in History

By Becky Little

Galileo before the Holy Office in the Vatican. The astronomer was condemned by the Tribunal of the Inquisition for having defended the theories of Copernicus. (Credit: Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

Papal apologies for the Catholic church’s behavior are a relatively recent phenomenon. Pope John Paul II, who held the title between 1979 and 2005, was the first to issue them. His successor, Benedict XVI, timidly followed that precedent; but it is Pope Francis who has turned the symbolic apology into something of a masterstroke, helping to shift the church’s atonement from a focus on historical wrongs to accepting moral responsibility for more current events.

In January 2017, Pope Francis met with Chilean survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests to apologize to them personally. It was a strikingly intimate gesture that demonstrates how the concept of papal apologies has evolved. Here’s a look at some of the most important apologies the church has made.

Galileo

Galileo before the Holy Office in the Vatican. The astronomer was condemned by the Tribunal of the Inquisition for having defended the theories of Copernicus. (Credit: Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

John Paul’s first papal apology in 1992 was for the church’s treatment of Galileo. In the 17th century, the church had branded the astronomer a heretic for (correctly) asserting that the sun was the center of our solar system. Because this contradicted the church’s position that Earth was the center, the church forced Galileo to choose between recanting his position or burning at the stake. He decided to recant, and spent the last several years of his life on house arrest.

This first apology was one of over 100 that John Paul issued during his time as pope, most of which concerned the church’s historical misdeeds. Yet not everyone was happy about this new turn in the papacy.

“There were some misgivings because many thought that would weaken the public standing of the Catholic church,” says Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University. “Some bishops or some cardinals evidently grew tired of this pope who thought that it was good for the church to apologize.”

Slavery, Colonialism & the Holocaust


On March 26, 2000, Pope John Paul II visited the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem asking for Christian forgiveness. (Credit: Jerome Delay/AP Photo)

In 1993, John Paul continued to address the church’s behavior in past centuries by issuing an apology for the church’s role in the African slave trade. Similarly to Francis’ 2015 apology <a target=_blank …read more

Source: HISTORY

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‘Bad Teacher’ Porn: The Politics Behind Our Obsession with Stories of Student-Teacher Sex

January 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Liz Posner, AlterNet

The media has a clear agenda for delivering so many stories of classroom relationships gone wrong.


We Americans may not like to admit it, but we love crime. Look at the recent popularity of the podcast “Serial,” or the 10 odd new detective shows that pop up on cable networks every fall. One particularly weird element of our crime lovefest is the obsession with news stories about school teachers having sex with their students or selling them drugs. You don’t hear stories about other local government employees—mail carriers, for example—committing sex crimes. Has television made us hungry for horror stories from classrooms, or is something more sinister at play?

On the surface, it’s clear why these stories are interesting to so many. Teachers are supposed to be role models, even stand-in parents. So when they do wrong, it stokes a certain kind of outrage that we don’t feel when we hear about corrupt politicians or greedy CEOs. But it’s not (technically, anyway) the job of the media to give us what we want to hear. The media is supposed to deliver, in fair proportion, the stories that are most vital. It certainly may be in the interest of local news sites to alert their communities about allegations against teachers in nearby schools. This fits the logic of having public registeries of pedophiles, after all. But why do these stories so often make the pages of national outlets like the New York Times or the Washington Post? On closer look, you can tell a lot about a publication’s biases based on how it approaches such stories, which I call “bad teacher” porn.

A shocking gender bias is clear in the skewed way these stories are reported. All but seven of the 61 “notorious teacher sex scandals” that CBS Interactive compiled into this slideshow are women. That number is particularly interesting considering, according to ABC News, “the vast majority of teachers who harass or abuse their students are men. Men make up just 15 percent of all teachers, yet are responsible for two-thirds of all abuse.” It’s unfair considering almost all …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Democracy and Laissez Faire: the New York State Constitution of 1846

January 18, 2018 in Economics

By Arthur A. Ekirch Jr.

New York assembly

By: Arthur A. Ekirch Jr.

New York's current financial woes have a precedent, and perhaps a solution, in the pages of the distant past. Well back in its history, in the late 1830s, New York State was spending and lending money lavishly. By the early 1840s, the rapidly mounting debt had occasioned a severe financial crisis. To avert the imminent possibility of bankruptcy and default, the state legislature in 1842 passed what was known as “the stop and tax law”, a levy of one mill on each dollar of taxable property. The new revenue helped the state meet its most pressing obligations. But, even more importantly in terms of the future, New York decided to take steps to prevent another such fiscal disaster. Ambitious projects for internal improvements — mostly canal construction and loans for railroad building — were cut back or abandoned unless there was a reasonable expectation that they could be funded from tolls or taxation. And the legislature also issued a call for a constitutional convention. The new Constitution adopted in 1846 placed strict limits on the state's ability to borrow money. Thus the people of New York, facing problems similar to the state's later predicament, found the answer in an old-fashioned program of reduced spending and new taxes. What is surprising, however, is that such policies had the popular support of the most democratic and liberal elements in the state.

To understand the unusual sequence of events which culminated in the New York State Constitution of 1846, one must go back in history to the Jacksonian era and the political struggles between the Democrats and the Whigs. In New York the Jacksonian Democrats included a wide-ranging constituency of radical workingmen, Irish immigrants, farmers, intellectuals, and representatives of the new rising business or small capitalist class. The preponderance of the older landed aristocracy and wealthier classes, together with the most English or Anglo-Saxon elements in the population, gravitated toward the Whig Party. The Whigs, united nationally by their opposition to Andrew Jackson's Presidency, were the ideological heirs in New York State of DeWitt Clinton, five times governor and father of the Erie Canal. Like Clinton, the Whigs supported the generous use of state funds for internal improvements as well as for various cultural, humanitarian, and educational endeavors. The Whigs' belief in positive government and social reform reflected their paternalistic conception of politics and economics.<a target=_blank class="see-footnote" href="https://mises.org/library/democracy-and-laissez-faire-new-york-state-constitution-1846#footnote1_wpwsojw" id="footnoteref1_wpwsojw" …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Why We Need #MeToo Now: 8 Important Points About This New Tactic Women Can Protect Themselves With

January 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Valerie Tarico, AlterNet

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#MeToo started as an outcry of anger and anguish. But retributive justice swiftly followed.


I. Bring It On

Like many female authors digging for material in the darker recesses of personal history, I’ve written about my experience of sexual assault. And that of my sister, meaning my actual blood sibling. And that of my sisters through history, starting with the sanctified sexual assault stories I grew up with—those in the Bible where, on God’s command, daughters are sold to older men, virgins are counted as war booty and a rapist can be forced to purchase and keep the woman he has violated.

I’m a middle-aged woman, a daughter, aunt, sibling, cousin, surrounded by close female friends. If someone of my age and gender wants to write about sexual boundary violations, all she has to do is close her eyes and shuffle through her internal file of stories—first-hand, second-hand, and those handed down for generations. The first time I opened that folder, I was trying to find some combination of words that might prepare my daughters for the inevitable—or at least inoculate them against the secondary wound carried by so many women for so long—the sense that we bearers of bad memories are damaged goods.

All of which is to say that, to my mind, this #MeToo moment is long overdue. In my mind’s eye, the waves lapping around us are small ripples in a sea of history, and we women stand on the shore of that history, fists clenched, staring at a stone edifice of male sexual entitlement that spans our horizons, with foundations so ancient and deep that only a tsunami of mythic proportions could possibly bring it down. Despite my lack of belief in gods, I pray for that tsunami to hit.

Sweep it clean! hisses my well of bitterness. …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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5 Ways Capitalist Logic Has Sabotaged the Scientific Community

January 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Justin Podur, AlterNet

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Academics should be collaborating, not competing for pseudoscientific rankings.


At a time when federal employees are prohibited from uttering the phrase “climate change,” the right routinely attempts to undermine universities' legitimacy, and tuitions have skyrocketed alongside student debt, it seems perverse that academics would further endanger their mission to educate and enlighten. Yet by embracing a malignant form of pseudoscience, they have accomplished just that.

What is the scientific method? Its particulars are a subject of some debate, but scientists understand it to be a systematic process of gathering evidence through observation and experiment. Data are analyzed, and that analysis is shared with a community of peers who study and debate its findings in order to determine their validity. Albert Einstein called this “the refinement of everyday thinking.”

There are many reasons this method has proven so successful in learning about nature: the grounding of findings in research, the openness of debate and discussion, and the cumulative nature of the scientific enterprise, to name just a few. There are social scientists, philosophers, and historians who study how science is conducted, but working scientists learn through apprenticeship in grad school laboratories.

Scientists have theorized, experimented, and debated their way to astounding breakthroughs, from the DNA double helix to quantum theory. But they did not arrive at these discoveries through competition and ranking, both of which are elemental to the business world. It's a business, after all, that strives to be the top performer in its respective market. Scientists who adopt this mode of thinking betray their own lines of inquiry, and the practice has become upsettingly commonplace.

Here are five ways capitalist logic has sabotaged the scientific community.

1. Impact Factor

Scientists strive to publish in journals with the highest impact factor, or the mean number of citations received over the previous …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Donald Trump's 'Fake News Awards' Was the Disaster We Expected

January 18, 2018 in Blogs

By Matthew Rozsa, Salon

He couldn't even post his “winners” without crashing the GOP server.


President Donald Trump's “fake news” awards have been released — and they have proved to be little more than yet another instance of the president taking swipes at media outlets he dislikes.

The so-called “winners“ included Paul Krugman of The New York Times for an opinion article predicting an economic catastrophe if Trump was elected. This alone should tell you that the awards — hosted by the Republican Party and not the president himself or the White House — give little credit to what “fake news” really means.

For reasons unknown, the awards were placed on the GOP server, and it immediately crashed their website.

Flake is not alone in sharing those concerns.

“Historically, the United States has stood as a beacon for press freedom and as a comfort to journalists who are imprisoned or threatened for their work around the world, but with the attacks against individual journalists and media outlets, the vilification of the press, the undermining of journalism's role in democracy, the constant use of 'fake news' as an epithet thrown at journalists and media outlets to denigrate their work and try to dismiss them, he has set a new global standard that is not the typical standard the U.S. sets,” Courtney Radsch, advocacy director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, told Salon last week.

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5 Presidents Who Hid Their Health Issues

January 18, 2018 in History

By Ryan Mattimore

President John F. Kennedy on crutches due to back ailment. (Credit: Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Donald J. Trump’s presidential physical has many in the nation abuzz about whether all was revealed about our current President’s health. The White House doctor described him as being in great health, but outside experts have questioned that assessment given how high the President’s recorded cholesterol level is. Trump wouldn’t be the first president striving to portray himself as being in perfect health, though. Here are five more presidents who got sick while in office—but tried not to alert the public.

President John F. Kennedy on crutches due to back ailment. (Credit: Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

John F. Kennedy

The image most people had of John F. Kennedy was one of youth and vitality. And, that was on purpose. JFK in fact lived in near-constant pain, but his poor health was kept a closely guarded secret for fear of damaging his political career. He had allergies, stomach troubles and suffered from chronic back pain, which was aggravated by his WWII service and required numerous surgeries. The back injury allegedly happened in 1937 while he was a student at Harvard, and it initially disqualified him from military service (his father later used his connections to get JFK into the Naval Reserve). He’d been ill before the injury, too. As a child he suffered from gastrointestinal issues which were later diagnosed as Addison’s disease, an endocrine disorder. In a strange twist of fate, one of the symptoms of Addison’s as well as a symptom of the steroids used to treat it is hyperpigmentation, which may be responsible for JFK’s perpetual “tan,” something viewers of his televised debate with Richard Nixon definitely noted.


Franklin Roosevelt in his wheelchair with his dog and Ruthie Bie, the daughter of the Hyde Park caretaker. (Credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Today most Americans are aware that our longest serving President suffered from the effects of polio and relied on a wheelchair for mobility. However, during his tenure as commander in chief, FDR was able to hide the severity of his condition to an almost unimaginable extent by today’s standards. He was diagnosed with polio in 1921, when he was 39 years old. This was unusual because most polio victims at the time were children under the age of four. FDR worked tirelessly to rehabilitate his body in …read more

Source: HISTORY

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Do We Have a Free-Market Medical System?

January 18, 2018 in Economics

By Hunter Lewis

medical_1.PNG

By: Hunter Lewis

Edward K. Glassman, my long ago Harvard classmate, author of Dow 36,000 (predicting Dow at that level by 2005), and current director of the George W. Bush Institute, extolls our free market medical system at FoxNews this week. The first reader to comment on the article agrees that we have a “ free market” system, but thinks that “ profit based healthcare” should be “outlawed.” Another reader thinks that we actually have “socialized medicine.”

So what do we have? I think the most apt description would be “crony capitalist” medicine, one in which powerful special interests conspire with government officials to create legally mandated monopolies, with the specific goal of thwarting free market competition.

Here is how it actually works:

  1. Most people wonder why there are no visible prices in medicine. You only find out what the charge has been after the service has been delivered. There actually are prices — controlled prices — but you aren’t supposed to know what they are. Each year a committee of the American Medical Association recommends a set of prices to Medicare. The committee is dominated by medical specialists, so specialists tend to do particularly well. Medicare is actually run, not by government, but by private insurance companies, and these companies adopt these prices for private insurance purposes as well. Congress further sweetened this price controlled system for hospitals by requiring Medicare to pay more for the same service if provided by hospital employees. This has inevitably led to local hospitals buying out most of the surrounding private medical practices, which has in turn created local medical service monopolies that feed patients to the hospital for its more costly services.
  1. These monopolies are further sweetened for doctors by legally barring nurses, chiropractors, four-year trained naturopathic doctors, and other health professionals from using the full extent of their medical training. In this way, the supply of medical services is constrained, which further raises prices.
  1. Notwithstanding all the preceding, it is not the American Medical Association, which is itself financed by a monopoly in medical coding granted by the US government department of Health and Human Services, nor the hospitals, nor the medical doctors as a group that actually run the medical system. The top spot is reserved for the drug companies, which in turn share their largesse with the AMA, doctors, medical journals, media companies, and especially with politicians. In return, drug …read more

    Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Who Is Team History?

January 18, 2018 in History

By Team History

2018_teamHistoryimages_codyKeenan

Former Director of Speechwriting for President Barack Obama.


Historian and author, “The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors.”

2018_teamHistoryimages_heatherAnnThompson-2
Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and author,” Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.”

2018_teamHistoryimages_gillon
Resident Historian for HISTORY and Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma.

…read more

Source: HISTORY