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Saturday, December 13, 2014

St. Louis Post Dispatch Declares That Banning Editorial Comments Will 'Elevate The Ferguson Conversation'

There's a growing trend whereby some news websites have started unilaterally declaring the lowly news comment section dead, and therefore have started eliminating the ability for visitors to comment entirely. While it's one thing to just close site comments and be done with it, sites like ReCode, Reuters and Popular Science have been quick to insist that they're killing comments for the good of the "conversation," which sounds so much better than "we closed news comments because we're too cheap and lazy to police bile and spam."

At a time when racial conversation couldn't be more important, the St. Louis Post Dispatch has decided to join the war on comments, this week declaring that the paper would be eliminating comments from paper editorials completely. This is, the paper declares, because it's very much concerned about having a "meaningful discussion":

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

U.S. health officials on Tuesday released a draft of long-awaited federal guidelines on circumcision, saying medical evidence supports the procedure and health insurers should pay for it.

The guidelines are being published in the federal register Tuesday. For the next 45 days, the CDC will receive public comment before finalizing them next year.

They are likely to draw intense opposition from anti-circumcision advocacy groups, said Dr. Douglas Diekema, a Seattle physician who worked on a circumcision policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012.

The thinking on circumcision has swung wildly over the years. It's been practiced by Jews and Muslims for thousands of years, but didn't become common in this country until the 20th century. By one estimate, only 25 percent of U.S. male newborns were circumcised in 1900. It gradually became the cultural norm, and in the 1950s and 1960s surpassed 80 percent.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

AlterNet has learned that an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have forbidden US assistance, training and weapons to neo-Nazis and other extremists in Ukraine was kept out of the final bill by the Republican-led House Rules Committee. Introduced by Democratic Representative John Conyers, the amendment was intended to help tamp down on violent confrontations between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists.

If passed, Conyers' amendment would have explicitly barred those found to have offered "praise or glorification of Nazism or its collaborators, including through the use of white supremacist, neo-Nazi, or other similar symbols" from receiving any form of support from the US Department of Defense.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency's report:

"It is time to honestly admit that Israeli society is ill – and it is our duty to treat this disease," Rivlin told the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities on Sunday at a conference titled "From Xenophobia to Accepting the Other."

"The tension between Jews and Arabs within the State of Israel has risen to record heights, and the relationship between all parties has reached a new low," he said. "We have all witnessed the shocking sequence of incidents and violence taking place by both sides. The epidemic of violence is not limited to one sector or another, it permeates every area and doesn't skip any arena. There is violence in soccer stadiums as well as in the academia. There is violence in the social media and in everyday discourse, in hospitals and in schools."

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014


A Pennsylvania legislator exchanged gunfire with a Harrisburg teenager who tried to rob him and a fellow House Democrat just blocks from the state Capitol.

State Reps. Marty Flynn (D-Scranton) and Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) escaped injury in the incident near the 200 block of Herr Street around 11 p.m. Tuesday, according to a caucus spokesman.

Flynn and Bizzarro were walking from the Capitol to their Second Street residence after a late dinner when the would-be robber pointed a gun at them and demanded their wallets.

Neither lawmaker handed over anything.

Flynn - a former prison guard, mixed martial arts fighter and professional boxer - drew a handgun that he is licensed to carry and exchanged shots with the gunman, the spokesman said in a news release.



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