Yesterday, Sen. Vitter of Louisiana offered up an amendment to permanently drop anyone ever convicted of a violent crime from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). According to Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Democrats in the Senate obliged him. The amendment is for a farm bill, which is currently being debated in the Senate.
The amendment would bar from SNAP (food stamps), for life, anyone who was ever convicted of one of a specified list of violent crimes at any time — even if they committed the crime decades ago in their youth and have served their sentence, paid their debt to society, and been a good citizen ever since. In addition, the amendment would mean lower SNAP benefits for their children and other family members.
So, a young man who was convicted of a single crime at age 19 who then reforms and is now elderly, poor, and raising grandchildren would be thrown off SNAP, and his grandchildren’s benefits would be cut. … Democrats accepted it without trying to modify it to address its most ill-considered aspects.
Two-thirds of SNAP recipients are children, elderly or the disabled, and two-fifths of SNAP households live below half the poverty line.image from link
According to Greenstein, if this amendment ends up in the farm bill and passes, it would hit African Americans particularly hard:
Given incarceration patterns in the United States, the amendment would have a skewed racial impact. Poor elderly African Americans convicted of a single crime decades ago by segregated Southern juries would be among those hit.
Sen. Vitter is claiming that his amendment is only aimed at preventing those convicted of violent crimes from obtaining benefits, apparently under the logic that stripping them of what may be their only form of income assistance will lead to less violence. Curiously, he didn’t propose that johns who’ve hired sex workers would also be banned from SNAP.
It seems that a lot of people think that feminists hate men. They say that we insult our fathers with promiscuity and incorrigibility. They assume we raise our sons to be ashamed, to expect failure, to feel inferior. They believe that we disrespect our husbands, demean them, and expect them to be our slaves. I think it is important to clarify something.
I am a mom of two sons. I am a feminist not because I hate men, but because I love them. I am a feminist because that will make my sons better, stronger, more moral men. I am a feminist because I want my daughter in-laws to be strong, independent, educated, happy women. I want my grandchildren to be raised believing that the world is their oyster and they deserve it… No matter their gender.
Raising young men to believe that they are entitled to rape and disrespect, and slut shame women is raising young men who will have troubles in all aspects of life. Feminism gives them the gift of a life they can be proud of.
In spite of what some might tell you, feminists don’t desire to disparage men. We desire to stand with them equally. We don’t dislike men, distrust men, or lack desire for them in our feminism. In fact, by demanding equality and independence we are free to make the choice in our relationships. This means that instead of being bound to men by fear and force, we are bound by love and devotion. When we choose to be in families and relationships with men, when we are free and able to go whenever we want but we choose not to, we give men a kind of love that misogyny cannot imagine.
More: Real Feminism Loves Men
Growing new brains with infrared light [exclusive]
May 24, 2013
Illustration of the “neuronal beacon” for guiding axon growth direction (credit: B. Black et al./Optics Letters)
University of Texas Arlington scientists have discovered a way to control the growth or repair of neurons and neuron circuits, using a non-invasive “neuronal beacon” (near-IR laser beam) — essentially rewiring brains, or even creating new ones.
This major discovery, just published today in Optics Letters, promises to enable several new applications, UT Arlington assistant professor of physics Samarendra Mohanty said in an exclusive interview with KurzweilAI:
Building highly precise 3D neural circuits in-vitro as a model for future supercomputers using neuromorphic chips (or even using the neurons themselves in an artificially grown biological computer).
Brain activity mapping, in combination with precision stimulation and imaging tools such as the fiber-optic, two-photon, optogenetic stimulator and label-free phase imaging developed by Mohanty.
Two rockets hit Hizbollah’s stronghold in southern Beirut yesterday, marking a dangerous new phase in Syria’s civil war.
The attack on the Beirut suburb of Chiyah was limited in scale - four Syrian labourers were wounded and some windows were smashed - but its implications could be far reaching.
It was the first time the Hizbollah-dominated area has been attacked, sparking fears that a new front in the Syrian war is opening in the Lebanese capital.
The Free Syrian Army, the umbrella group representing some rebel forces, denied any role, but one FSA officer described the attack as a warning to Hizbollah.
“In coming days we will do more than this. This is a warning to Hizbollah and the Lebanese government to keep Hizbollah’s hands off Syria,” Ammar Al Wawi said.
Some Syrian rebels have said the war would soon arrive on Hizbollah’s home turf if the group continued to fight alongside Bashar Al Assad’s forces inside Syria. That pledge seems to have been borne out.
FOR years, conventional wisdom has held that as long as Israel faces the external challenge of Arab — especially Palestinian — hostility it will never come to terms with its internal divisions. The left has sometimes used it as an argument: we must make peace with the Palestinians so that we can set our house in order — write a constitution, figure out the public role of religion. Others have viewed the threat as almost a silver lining keeping the place together: differences among Israeli Jews (religious or secular, Ashkenazic or Sephardic) are so profound, the argument goes, that if the society ever manages to turn its attention inward, it might tear itself apart.
Back in Tel Aviv for a recent visit a year after ending my tour as Jerusalem bureau chief, I was struck by how antiquated that wisdom felt. At a fascinating and raucous wedding I attended and from numerous conversations with a range of Israelis, I came away with a very different impression. Few even talk about the Palestinians or the Arab world on their borders, despite the tumult and the renewed peace efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been visiting the region in recent days. Instead of focusing on what has long been seen as their central challenge — how to share this land with another nation — Israelis are largely ignoring it, insisting that the problem is both insoluble for now and less significant than the world thinks. We cannot fix it, many say, but we can manage it.
The wedding took place near Ben-Gurion airport, where a set of event halls has gone up in the past seven years, including elaborate structures with a distinct Oriental décor of glistening chandeliers, mirrored place mats and sky-high ceilings with shifting digital displays. The groom’s grandparents emigrated from Yemen; the bride’s came from Eastern Europe, an example of continuing and increasing intermarriage between Sephardim and Ashkenazim.
The music was almost entirely Middle Eastern in beat, some of it in Arabic, some of it religious. The hundreds on the dance floor, many staying until dawn singing along with arms gesticulating, came from across a range of political, geographic and religious spectra — from miniskirted to ultra-Orthodox modesty. Frumpy settlers in oversize skullcaps mingled with Tel Aviv metrosexuals in severe eyewear. Some women hugged you; others declined to shake your hand. Everyone was celebrating. No one, especially the Orthodox rabbi who presided over the ceremony, mentioned that the young couple had been living together for more than three years. Some talked politics with me. No one mentioned the Palestinians.
The Reportage Festival in Sydney, Australia is a well-known Vivid exhibition that displays the powerful work of some of the world’s best photojournalists and documentary photographers. But this year, the New South Wales government has gotten involved by telling the curators what they can and cannot display, stirring up many photographers and anti-censorship advocates in the process.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, photos of the Cronulla riots, the Granville train accident, as well as several award-winning Magnum photographs have all been deemed inappropriate or “too distressing” by the NSW government’s tourism department, Destination NSW.
Festival curator Stephen Dupont called the censorship “embarrassing.” Speaking with the Herald, he laments that many high-profile photographers who have traveled from all over the world to display their photography may not even see it up.
Photojournalist Ed Giles, who has spent the past couple of years documenting political upheaval in Egypt, was outraged:
It is not the place of the state government to censor the communication of documentary work on issues that actually matter. Our collective lives are saccharine enough without being packaged by tourism boards.
By Eric Larson1 day ago
The Westboro Baptist Church can add another group to its “hate” list: hackers.
The Christian fundamentalist group, notorious for its “God Hates Fags” protests, launched a website on Monday called GodHatesOklahoma.com, just hours after a mile-wide tornado hit the town of Moore, Okla., and killed 24 people.
The site didn’t last long. Whatever content was originally published — presumably a rant about how America’s “sins” are being chastised, per the group’s usual protests — was hacked and replaced by a photo of Jesus Christ giving the middle finger, along with the message, “Westboro Faptist Church — Even Jesus Hates You.” (Faptist being a reference to the word “fap,” Internet slang for “masturbate”).
Here’s a photo of the rapids above the American Falls. I used an extreme f-stop and the dim morning light to slow the shutter which created the effect of the wood in perfect clarity while the water has a dreamy motion blur.