Russian President Vladimir Putin quashed the possibility that Russia would annex Alaska while on a question-and-answer call-in show Thursday, adding that the former Russian colony is cold, too.
Amid rising Russian nationalism after the president’s annexation of Crimea, Putin responded to an audience member’s suggestion of annexing Alaska during the televised national phone-in, asking, “Faina Ivanovna, my dear, why do you want Alaska?”
Russia is a “northern country” and 70 percent of its territory lies in “Northern and extreme Northern regions,” Putin said, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “Is Alaska really in the Southern Hemisphere? It’s cold there, too. Let’s not get hot-headed,” he added. Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. in 1867 for $7.2 million.
“Who needs Alaska?” Putin added
Increasingly, anti-choicers are dropping the pretense that they’re motivated by “life” and admitting that their efforts are about controlling women’s sexuality. (Abstinence via Shutterstock)
Is the anti-choice movement giving up the pretense that it has no interest in policing women’s sexuality and only opposes abortion rights because of fetal life? While the rote use of the word “life” as a code word to describe a series of anti-woman and anti-sex beliefs is probably going nowhere, there does seem to be a bit more willingness among anti-choicers lately to admit that what really offends them is that women are having sex without their permission.
A report examining the demographics of women who have abortions, using self-reported numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics, was recently presented at a Family Research Council conference. Their conclusion? “OMG sluts!”
The researchers—a term that needs to be used somewhat loosely, due to the extensive statistical distortion employed in this paper—were incredibly intent on portraying abortion as a product of sexually loose women on the prowl. They mostly succeed in portraying themselves as remarkably prudish and out of step with mainstream realities. “Almost 90 percent of reported abortions are procured by women who have had three or more (male) sexual partners,” the researchers write, clearly expecting the audience to reel in terror at the idea that a woman might not marry the first boy she kisses. Which means that most women having abortions are … average. Women generally report having had about four male sexual partners, but social scientists are inclined to think the number is probably higher than that, because men report having a much higher average number of partners, and that discrepancy is mathematically impossible. Indeed, one study showed that by telling women that they’re hooked up to a lie detector, the number of sex partners they will cop to goes up. Slut-shaming, such as the kind produced by this report, causes women to round down.
Even by the standards of the growing Republican assault on the lives and rights of women, a new bill passed by bipartisan majorities in both houses of Tennessee’s Legislature recently stands out for being meanspirited and counterproductive.
If signed by the state’s Republican governor, Bill Haslam, the legislation would give Tennessee the dubious distinction of being the first state to specifically authorize the filing of assault charges, carrying up to 15 years in prison, when a fetus or newborn is deemed to be harmed by illegal narcotics. Once the bill reaches his desk, Mr. Haslam will have 10 days to veto or sign it before it automatically becomes law. He can show he truly cares about protecting pregnant women, children and families by vetoing the bill, as specialists in obstetric medicine and drug addiction, as well as women’s rights groups have urged.
Erik Eckholm reported in The Times this week that medical authorities say any risks of narcotics to newborns have been exaggerated and withdrawal symptoms can be effectively treated with no long-term effects. The measure’s main impact, critics of the measure warn, would be to harm babies by making pregnant women fear seeking medical care. It could also lead some women to have abortions to avoid criminal penalties with long-range consequences, including their ability to earn a living.
The bill is the latest turn in Tennessee’s policy in this sphere. Several years ago, prosecutors in the state began using a law — originally intended to protect pregnant women from violent crimes and bolster penalties on attackers — to charge women who gave birth to babies who tested positive for illegal drugs. An enlightened 2012 law barred such cases. In 2013, the state’s child welfare law was amended to encourage women to enter drug treatment and to make it harder to remove infants born with traces of illegal drugs from their mothers.
The change in legal terms, which occurred shortly after a judge refused to dismiss a case brought against the company by consumers in California, made General Mills one of the first, if not the first, major food companies to seek to impose what legal experts call “forced arbitration” on consumers.
“Although this is the first case I’ve seen of a food company moving in this direction, others will follow — why wouldn’t you?” said Julia Duncan, director of federal programs and an arbitration expert at the American Association for Justice, a trade group representing plaintiff trial lawyers. “It’s essentially trying to protect the company from all accountability, even when it lies, or say, an employee deliberately adds broken glass to a product.”
A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a contempt of court ruling against Ladar Levison and his now-defunct encrypted e-mail service provider, Lavabit LLC, for hindering the government’s investigation into the National Security Agency leaks surrounding Edward Snowden.
In the summer of 2013, Lavabit was ordered to provide real-time e-mail monitoring of one particular user of the service, believed to be Snowden, the former NSA contractor turned whistleblower. Instead of adequately complying with the order to turn over the private SSL keys that protected his company’s tens of thousands of users from the government’s prying eyes, Levison chose instead to shut down Lavabit last year after weeks of stonewalling the government.
Levison reluctantly turned over his encryption keys to the government, although not in a manner that the government deemed useful—he provided a lengthy printout in tiny type, a move the authorities said was objectionable. “The company had treated the court orders like contract negotiations rather than a legal requirement,” US Attorney Andrew Peterson, who represented the government, told PC World.
Remember this asshole?
One of the armed Idahoans in Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with the Bureau of Land Management last weekend was photographed in a prone position aiming an AR-15 at federal law officers.
Eric Parker, described only as being from Central Idaho and captured in a Reuters picture by Jim Urquhart, was one of hundreds of people who identified themselves as patriots and militia rushing to the ranch near Las Vegas to come to Bundy’s aid after agents started confiscating his cattle.
I hope an arrest warrant has been issued for this moron and he is put away for a long long time.
By Sergei L. Loiko
April 17, 2014, 3:31 a.m.
MOSCOW — Russia may invade southeast Ukraine to protect the local population, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
Speaking live at his annual call-in show in a Moscow television studio, Putin implied he reserves the right to move Russian troops into the neighboring country on behalf of pro-Russian residents.
“We know quite well that we must do our best to protect their rights and help them independently decide their fate and we will struggle for that,” Putin said. “I remind you that the Federation Council of Russia [the upper house of Parliament] empowered the president to use the armed forces in Ukraine.”
But Putin added that he hoped he would not have to resort to that.
The bias built into light meters, film, and cameras.
Kodak did finally modify its film emulsion stocks in the 1970s and ’80s — but only after complaints from companies trying to advertise chocolate and wood furniture. The resulting Gold Max film stock was created. According to Roth, a Kodak executive described the film as being able to “photograph the details of the dark horse in low light.”
Kodak never encountered a groundswell of complaints from African-Americans about their products. Many of us simply assumed the deficiencies of film emulsion performance reflected our inadequacies as photographers. Perhaps we didn’t understand the principles of photography. It is science, after all.
Through experience we adapted to film technology — analog and digital —that hadn’t adapted to us. We circumvented the inherent flaws of film emulsion by ensuring that our subjects were well placed in light; invested more in costly lenses that permitted a wider variety of aperture ranges so we could imbue our work with all the light we could; we purchased professional-grade films at faster speeds, or specialty films with emulsions designed for shooting conditions strictly indoor under fluorescent or tungsten light. We accepted poor advice from white photo instructors to add Vaseline to teeth and skin or apply photosensitive makeup that barely matched our skin’s undertones.
Consumers all know what price setting is, but do many workers know about wage setting? In this case several tech giants are accused of holding a “gentleman’s agreement” not to poach each other’s talent, which has the effect of keeping silicon valley wages for tech talent capped.
In its 2010 complaint, the Justice Department alleged that the companies had agreed to restrict the mobility of their skilled employees.
Without admitting any wrongdoing, the companies settled with the government and agreed not to enforce any agreement that refrained the companies from soliciting, cold calling or competing for employees from the other companies.
This deal failed, however, to ward off multiple civil complaints, which a federal judge eventually consolidated in the Northern District of California.
Software engineers in the class action claim that a poaching ban maintained stable internal salary structures at Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Disney Pixar from 2005 to 2009.
More: Courthouse News Service