In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address as he dedicated a national cemetery at the site of the Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania.
Daily Archives: November 19, 2011
Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, the son of slain Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, was captured in the Libyan desert after weeks on the run, senior military commanders said Saturday.
His father was killed last month near Sirte after his capture by forces loyal to the National Transitional Council.
Prosecutors at Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge tribunal on Friday appealed against a decision to free the regime’s former “First Lady” after she was deemed unfit for trial.
The ruling on the seventy-nine-year-old’s fitness came just days before the tribunal was to hear opening statements in her long-awaited trial.
The former social affairs minister is facing charges of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity over the deaths of two million people during the movement’s reign.
Ieng Thirith will remain locked up while the Supreme Court ponders the appeal. She has been held along with her husband and former foreign affairs minister Ieng Sary and two other top regime leaders.
Questions have long been raised over the mental state of the regime’s “First Lady”, who famously lost her cool during a 2009 court appearance, telling the prosecutor he would be “cursed to the seventh circle of hell”.
Trial chamber judges said in a statement Thursday that the “continued detention of an accused who lacks capacity to understand proceedings against her… would not serve the interests of justice.”
While they agreed about her mental health affliction, they were split about what to do with Ieng Thirith after staying the proceedings against her. Cambodian judges suggested she should be hospitalised for six months before re-assessing her fitness, while international judges said there was no legal basis to keep her locked up. In the absence of an agreement, international law prevailed.
In their appeal document, prosecutors said judges had failed to exhaust all possible options to improve the suspect’s condition.
Freeing Ieng Thirith would likely cause a stir in Cambodia, where many victims are still haunted by the horrors of the regime.
Led by Pol Pot, who died in 1998, the Khmer Rouge wiped out a quarter of the population through starvation, overwork, and execution trying to create an agrarian utopia.
As social affairs minister, Ieng Thirith, who was Pol Pot’s sister-in-law, is believed to have been involved in some of the communist movement’s most drastic policies.
In the court’s first trial, prison chief Kaing Guek Eav was sentenced to thirty years in jail for overseeing the deaths of 15,000 people. His case is under appeal.
Amid fears that not all the elderly accused in the long-awaited second trial will live to see a verdict, the court last month divided their complex case into a series of smaller trials to speed up proceedings.
Over the past century, our nation expanded voting rights and knocked down barriers to full electoral participation. In 2011, that momentum shifted.
State governments enacted new laws making it harder to register or vote. Some states require voters to show photo identification that as many as one in ten voters do not have. Other states have cut back on early voting, a popular innovation used by millions of Americans. Two states reversed earlier reforms and again disenfranchised millions who have past criminal convictions but who are now taxpaying members of the community. Still others made it more difficult for citizens to register to vote.
These new restrictions fall mostly on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities. This changes may tilt the political terrain for the 2012 election. Based on the Brennan Center’s analysis of the nineteen laws and two executive actions that passed in fourteen states, it is clear that:
- These new laws could make it much harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.
- The states that have already cut back on voting rights will provide 171 electoral votes in 2012 – 63% of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
- Of the twelve likely battleground states, five have already cut back on voting rights, and two more are currently considering new restrictions.
Although it is too early to quantify how the changes will impact voter turnout, they will be a hindrance to many voters when the United States continues to turn out less than two-thirds of its eligible citizens in Presidential elections and less than half in midterm elections.
Two others, including the pilot, were also killed in Thursday night’s crash. There were no survivors.
Mr. Budke and Ms. Serna were on a recruiting trip, the university said in a statement.
Hundreds of women in Peru who believe they’re infertile may be the victims of a government policy that led to their sterilization. There are about 2,000 documented cases of women who had their tubes tied without consent under a program meant to offer birth control to deal with the country’s high birth rate.
CNN reports that Special Prosecutor Victor Cubas reopened an investigation into allegations that President Alberto Fujimori‘s government ordered sterilization quotas in the 1990s. About 300,000 women participated in a birth control campaign that involved several methods, including “voluntary contraceptive surgery.” The problem is that many women say they were coerced into signing consent forms or given the surgery while doctors were performing another procedure.
Human rights attorney Rossy Salazar says:
What happened was that [the government] instituted a policy of quotas, in a way forcing and giving incentives to doctors, gynecologists and nurses to sterilize a minimum of three women every month.
The attorney general’s office says that the number of victims is probably much higher. It’s also believed that the plan targeted poor rural women who don’t speak Spanish.
Officials from Fujimori’s administration insist they didn’t commit any crimes and didn’t have quotas, but former health minister Marino Costa Bauer says:
Of course there were problems … I’m not going to deny it. I have never denied that there were problems. But what did we do about it? First, we investigated all of the accusations that were filed; absolutely all of them without exception.
The cases might have been looked into at one point, but in 2009, all the investigations were shelved until the government of President Ollanta Humala had them reopened.
Victoria Vigo is the only woman who’s won a forced sterilization case in Peru. She says that after she went to the hospital to deliver her third child, she wasn’t able to conceive again. Three months later, a doctor confirmed that her tubes had been tied. After a trial that dragged on for years, she was awarded $2,750, and her doctor didn’t serve any jail time. Now, Ms. Vigo’s participating in the effort to prove that what happened to her wasn’t an isolated incident, but part of a government plan to deprive women of their reproductive choices. “As a woman, I feel indignant and that’s why 15 years ago I said no woman should remain silent when her body has been violated,” she says.
Thanks to House Republicans, pizza is now a vegetable. That’s right: House Republicans voted this week to classify tomato sauce as a vegetable when it’s served on pizza to America’s school children. It’s enough to warm Herman Cain’s heart.
In their latest attempt to block everything suggested by President Obama, Republicans have chosen to ignore the childhood obesity epidemic and undermine the President’s initiative on physical fitness and healthy eating.
- Pizza still a vegetable for U.S. schools
- 10 school lunch controversies: A slideshow
- House GOP Classifies Pizza As A Vegetable
- Congress Pushes Back On Healthier School Lunches: Send letter of protest
- The Loyal Opposition: Congress Says Pizza is a Vegetable
- Pizza is a vegetable? Tell Congress to Promote Healthy School Meals
- Echoing Reagan Years, House GOP Classifies Pizza As Vegetable to Cut School Lunch Funds
- Congress Looking to Declare Pizza Is a Vegetable for School Lunches
On Friday, Newt Gingrich said child work laws “entrap” poor children in poverty and suggested that a better way to handle failing schools is to fire the janitors, hire the students, and let them get paid for upkeep. The comment came in response to an undergrad’s question about income equality during a talk at Harvard’s Kennedy School.
“This is something that no liberal wants to deal with,” Gingrich said. “Core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization against children in the poorest neighborhoods, crippling them by putting them in schools that fail has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy. It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.
“You say to somebody, you shouldn’t go to work before you’re what, 14, 16 years of age, fine. You’re totally poor. You’re in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I’ve tried for years to have a very simple model,” he said. “Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
He added, “You go out and talk to people, as I do, you go out and talk to people who are really successful in one generation. They all started their first job between nine and 14 years of age. They all were either selling newspapers, going door to door, they were doing something, they were washing cars.”
“They all learned how to make money at a very early age,” he said. “What do we say to poor kids in poor neighborhoods? Don’t do it. Remember all that stuff about don’t get a hamburger flipping job? The worst possible advice you could give to poor children. Get any job that teaches you to show up on Monday. Get any job that teaches you to stay all day even if you are in a fight with your girlfriend. The whole process of making work worthwhile is central.”
The former House Speaker acknowledged that it was an unconventional pitch, saying, “You’re going to see from me extraordinarily radical proposals to fundamentally change the culture of poverty in America and give people a chance to rise very rapidly.”
What’s the emergency backup when a food bank goes out of business?
The Prince William County food pantry found out in October: It’s the public.
The pantry, which doles out food to about 4,000 people a month, ran out of food and supplies October 17.
The community rallied and raised thousands of dollars to restock the empty shelves.
Here’s a by-the-numbers look at the time and goods donated to the pantry:
- $7,000 given in 2010
- $108,000 October 2011
- 1,700 lbs. of venison was donated on November 15 by Hunters for the Hungry. The group gives 300 to 500 pounds a month.
- 2,500 lbs of produce is donated weekly by volunteers in Dale City, Virginia
- 1 truckload a month is donated by USDA by way of Capital Area Food Bank
- 12 grocers, 4 restaurants and 15 faith-based organizations give regularly
- 66 pounds of groceries are expected to last a week for a family of four
- 1,421 families fed in Operation Turkey, 2010
- 30,000 lbs. of food drummed up by Boy scouts in the Turkey Drive
- 34,000 lbs. of side dishes given in four days
- 1,600 families expected in 2011
- 128 volunteers
- 1,007 hours in October
- 69 hours, 5 minutes volunteered by Rene Garcia in October. “It makes me feel good … that someone else can get food on their table. I’m going to do it until I can’t do it any longer.”
Via The Washington Post.
- U.S. Food Banks Struggling With Holiday Turkey Shortage
- Companies donate turkeys to brighten Thanksgiving for those in need
- Area food banks facing a crisis in food, funding