MoJo Author Feeds: Hannah Levintova | Mother Jones Mother Jones logo en Who Subsidizes Restaurant Workers' Pitiful Wages? You Do <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>For Americans who like to eat out occasionally, the full-service restaurant industry is full of relatively affordable options&mdash;think Olive Garden, Applebees, or Chili's. But these spots aren't exactly a bargain once a hefty hidden cost is factored in: The amount of taxpayer assistance that goes to workers earning little pay.</p> <p>Food service workers have more than twice the poverty rate of the overall workforce, and thus more often seek out public benefits. A <a href="" target="_blank">new report</a> published last week by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC), a restaurant workers' advocacy and assistance group, calculated the tab and found that from 2009 to 2013, regular Americans subsidized the industry's low wages with nearly $9.5 billion in tax money each year. That number includes spending from roughly 10 different assistance programs, including Medicaid, food stamps, and low-income housing programs like Section 8.</p> <p>Here's the breakdown per program:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Screen%20Shot%202015-04-17%20at%201.23.14%20PM.png" style="height: 429px; width: 550px;"><div class="caption">Restaurant Opportunities Centers United</div> </div> <p>The amounts were calculated by combining Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics figures on the programs' cost and enrollments with the number of Americans working in full-service restaurants.</p> <p>ROC also found that employees at the five largest full-service restaurant companies alone cost taxpayers about $1.4 billion per year. According to the report, these five companies employ more than half a million of the sector's more than 4 million workers.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Here's another striking statistic: If you add up these five companies' profits, CEO pay, distributed dividends, and stock buy-backs, the total comes to a bit more than $1.48 billion&mdash;almost exactly what taxpayers spend on these five companies' workers, $1.42 billion.</p> <p>ROC's report notes another key point: <a href="" target="_blank">Polling</a> shows that most Americans want a tax system that requires Corporate America to pull its weight. If customers start realizing that their meal costs a lot more than the check says, they just might lose their appetite.</p></body></html> Kevin Drum Charts Food and Ag Labor Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:45:07 +0000 Hannah Levintova 273866 at This Letter From a Gay Veteran's Brother Is the Most Heartbreaking Response to Indiana's Law We've Read Yet <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>On Tuesday morning, Indiana's largest newspaper, the <em>Indianapolis Star</em>, published a full <a href="" target="_blank">front-page editorial</a> calling on Gov. Mike Pence to repeal the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the new bill that has incited national furor because it allows businesses to refuse service to gay people, citing their religious beliefs.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/CBZFU8uVIAAlJjE-1.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Tuesday's Indianapolis Star. </strong>@markalesia/Twitter</div> </div> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script><p>By the end of the day, the paper received a heartbreaking letter from Nick Crews of Plainfield. Crews writes about walking his dogs to the local market that morning to pick up two copies of the day's <em>Star</em>, something he never does. He continues:</p> <blockquote> <p>With the papers under my arm, I walked to Plainfield's Maple Hill Cemetery, and found my brother's grave. My brother, who had been a troubled Vietnam War vet, was gay at a time when being gay was a very difficult thing to be. When he died of AIDS in 1985 in a far-off city, his refuge from his closed-minded native state, some in our family were sufficiently ashamed that his cause of death was not discussed.</p> <p>At the grave I opened the <em>Star</em>. I said, "Well, Charlie, times have changed, thank God. It turns out you were on the right side of history after all." Then I read aloud as much of the paper's editorial as tears would let me get through.</p> <p>And today I'm doing what I never thought I'd do. I'm renewing my subscription to the<em> Star</em>. I'm doing this because, if for no other reason, I believe we must all support those who stand against discrimination and for inclusiveness. I do it too as thanks to the <em>Star</em> whose courage and right-mindedness on this issue made this moment of personal closure possible for me.</p> </blockquote> <p>Read his entire letter <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> Mixed Media Gay Rights Media Top Stories Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:57:06 +0000 Hannah Levintova 272826 at Ellen Pao Loses Her Gender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Silicon Valley VC Firm Kleiner Perkins <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><em>This is a breaking news story. We'll be updating this post regularly.</em></p> <p>Ellen Pao's $16 million lawsuit against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, has captivated Silicon Valley for the past month. Pao, now the interim CEO of Reddit, sued her former employer on charges of gender discrimination and retaliation. <a href="">Many</a> <a href="">have called</a> the trial Silicon Valley's version of the Anita Hill hearings, in part because it offers a rare glimpse into the challenges faced by women at the Valley's elite companies, where cases of this rank usually settle rather than go public. At 2 PM pacific today, the jury returned a verdict, <a href=";nlid=28193795&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">voting no on all four counts</a> of alleged gender discrimination and retaliation by Kleiner Perkins.</p> <p>But the official verdict barely lasted a half hour, thanks to an error in basic math: The judge asked each juror to list their individual verdict for the court. This revealed that on the fourth count&mdash;which alleges that Pao's termination was retaliation for raising concerns about gender discrimination and filing her lawsuit&mdash;4 of the 12 jurors, two men and two women, voted yes. The judge ruled that 8-4 was an insufficient majority&mdash;a consensus among nine jurors is needed&mdash;and asked the jurors to return to the deliberation room for further discussion. That means that there hasn't yet been an official verdict. We'll keep updating this post as news unfolds.</p> <p><strong>Update, Friday, 7:45 p.m. EDT:</strong> After the first jury miscount, an official verdict is in and venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins has prevailed on all counts. The jury returned to the courtroom after several hours of additional deliberations to deliver the verdict. Juror 3, one of the four original "yes" votes on the retaliation count, flipped his vote. With a consensus of nine jurors or more on all counts, the case is over. Ellen Pao gave a brief statement to the press, thanking her family and friends for their support throughout the trial. "I have told my story and thousands of people have heard me," <a href="" target="_blank">she said</a>. "If I've helped level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it."</p></body></html> Politics Sex and Gender Tech Fri, 27 Mar 2015 22:16:17 +0000 Hannah Levintova 272531 at Robot-Building 6-Year-Old Girls Talking Tech With Obama Is the Best Thing You'll See All Week <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>On Monday, President Obama made his annual rounds at the White House Science Fair. The event is a breeding ground for adorable interactions with kid-nerds (See 2012's <a href="" target="_blank">marshmallow-shooting air cannon</a>), but <a href="" target="_blank">his chat</a> yesterday with five cape-wearing Girl Scouts from Oklahoma was especially magical.</p> <p>The 6-year-olds from Tulsa's Girl Scout Troup 411 were <a href="" target="_blank">the youngest</a> inventors selected to present at this year's fair. <a href="" target="_blank">Inspired by</a> conversations with a librarian and one of the girls' grandmas, they built a mechanical Lego contraption that can turn pages, to help patients with mobility issues read books.</p> <p>The group of first graders and kindergartners explain to Obama that the device is a "prototype" that they came up with in a "brainstorming session." One of the girls asks Obama if he's ever had his own brainstorming session.</p> <p>"I have had a couple brainstorming sessions," replies an amused Obama. "But I didn't come up with anything this good!"</p> <p>Another girls asks what he came up with:</p> <p>"I mean, I came up with things like, you know, health care. It turned out ok, but it started off with some prototypes," the president says.</p> <p>And then they all go in for a group hug. GOLD.</p> <p>Suzanne Dodson, the coach of the Lego team and the mom of one of the scouts, told <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Tulsa World</em></a> that she's glad the girls are getting such positive attention for their project: "It really is a problem with girls, when they get to middle school, they lose confidence in their own ability to succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)" she said. "Having this experience at young age really gives them a confidence boost."</p></body></html> Mixed Media Tech Tue, 24 Mar 2015 23:56:46 +0000 Hannah Levintova 272341 at Why a German Court Just Ordered A Vaccine Skeptic to Pay $100K <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>Four years ago, <a href="" target="_blank">vaccine-skeptical</a> German biologist Stefan Lanka <a href="" target="_blank">posed a challenge</a> on <a href="" target="_blank">his website</a>: Prove to him that measles is, in fact, a virus. To the first person who could do that, he promised a whopping 100 thousand Euros (about $106,000).</p> <p>Despite loads of long-standing medical evidence proving the existence of the measles virus, Lanka&nbsp;believes that measles is a psychosomatic disease that results from trauma. "People become ill after traumatic separations," <a href="" target="_blank">he told</a> a German newspaper.</p> <p>German doctor David Barden took him up on the challenge. Barden gathered six separate studies showing that measles is indeed a virus. Lanka dismissed his findings.</p> <p>But today, a district court in southern Germany found that Barden's evidence provides sufficient proof to have satisfied Lanka's challenge. Which means Lanka now has to cough up the promised cash.</p> <p>This issue has taken on new urgency due to a measles epidemic in Berlin that began in October. Health officials announced last Friday that <a href="" target="_blank">111 new cases</a> had been reported in the previous week, bringing the total number to 724. The majority of those affected are unvaccinated; <a href="" target="_blank">last month</a> an 18-month-old died of the disease.</p> <p>Lanka said he <a href="" target="_blank">plans to appeal</a> the court's decision. &nbsp;</p></body></html> Mixed Media Health Science Fri, 13 Mar 2015 20:39:32 +0000 Hannah Levintova 271816 at This Fake App Just Summed Up Everything That's Wrong With Silicon Valley <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>In Silicon Valley, a group of mostly white, mostly male twentysomethings have built a multibillion-dollar empire of sharing apps: shared housing (AirBnB), shared cars (Uber), shared dog-sitting (DogVacay)&hellip;you get the idea. But the so-called "sharing economy" <a href="">doesn't</a> <a href="">actually</a> <a href="">share</a> equally with everyone. One fake app wants to change that.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">WellDeserved</a> is an app that helps you "monetize" your privilege&mdash;be it racial, gender-based, or socioeconomic&mdash;by sharing it (temporarily, of course) with other people. The fictional app was the winning entry at last month's <a href="">Comedy Hack Day</a> in San Francisco, where creative agency <a href="" target="_blank">Cultivated Wit</a> challenged contestants to come up with a comedic app idea and pitch it to judges, all in 48 hours.</p> <p>The app's promo video will make you laugh and cry: A Google employee sells his free Google lunch to a guest for $10, a dude charges a black man $5 to hail a cab on his behalf, and another guy walks a woman home so she won't get catcalled, asking himself, "Why don't I walk with them, spare them the harassment, and charge 'em like five bucks?"</p> <p>The creators' (fake) plan for making the (fake) app work is summed up perfectly: "Our business plan is that VCs will just give us money. Because this is San Francisco, and we have an idea."</p> <p><em>This post has been updated.</em></p></body></html> Mixed Media Race and Ethnicity Sex and Gender Tech Thu, 12 Mar 2015 22:08:02 +0000 Hannah Levintova 271776 at Goodnight Measles: Bedtime Stories for Your Unvaccinated Child <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>As of February 6, the <a href="" target="_blank">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a> has counted 121 reported measles cases this year in 17 states and Washington DC. Of those, 103 (85 percent) are linked to the <a href="" target="_blank">outbreak</a> that began at Disneyland in December. And the cause of this resurgence of a disease that until recently was considered licked in the United States? All evidence points to parents refusing to vaccinate their children.</p> <p>At least some of those parents, though, are happy to inoculate their children with anti-vaccine sentiment. There's a whole ouevre of anti-vax fiction for kids, and some of it takes a pretty, well, <em>creative</em> approach&mdash;zombies! shape-shifting aliens!&mdash;to advancing ideas about the danger of vaccination. Some of the books include claims about links between vaccines and autism that have been repeatedly and conclusively proven false by science.</p> <p>Here are a handful of examples, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 syringes (5 being the most explicitly anti-science):</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/melanie-measles." style="height: 258px; width: 200px;"></div> <p><strong><a href="">Melanie's Marvelous Measles (2012):</a> </strong></p> <p><strong>Summary</strong>: A little girl named Tina learns that her best friend Melanie is out of school with the measles. Melanie is vaccinated, but Tina's parents decided not to vaccinate her after her little brother "was very sick" from his shots. Tina's mother assures her daughter that measles make the body stronger, and they go to Melanie's house so Tina can get the measles, too. Another (vaccinated) classmate ends up catching measles from Melanie, who eventually recovers, but Tina doesn't contract the disease, because "she eats lots of fresh, raw food, and also because she plays in the sunshine daily and drinks plenty of water."</p> <p><strong>Excerpt:</strong> "Tina heard Jared tell Travis, the boy beside him, that he wouldn't get the measles because he had been vaccinated. Travis said that he wasn't vaccinated, but didn't mind, until Jared then told him angrily, 'Well, you're going to die if you don't get vaccinated.' Travis thought about this for a minute and said to Jared, 'Well I know that isn't true because I haven't had any vaccinations and I am still alive.' Jared didn't know what to say to that!"</p> <p><strong>Rating: </strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%">&nbsp;</div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/5syringes2.jpg"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href="">Vaccination: A Zombie Novel</a> (2014): </strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/vaccination_tomasso_resized_1-200x300_0.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 200px;"></div> <p><strong>Summary: </strong>The federal government mass-produces a swine flu vaccine that turns recipients into zombies. A 911 dispatcher who has foregone the vaccine must find a way to save himself and his two kids. Escaping to Mexico might be their only chance.</p> <p><strong>Excerpt: </strong>"They're not dead though. They look it. But they're not. Their bodies will continue to decay, but they'll keep going, keep coming after you, keep eating until they just can't do it anymore. They get all dumb, and forget how to do things, but not how to eat. They remember that. And how to run. My God, they're fast. So, so fast."</p> <p>"Who forgets things?</p> <p>"Who?" he laughed. "All of them. Everyone who got the vaccination."</p> <p>"What vaccination?" I asked.</p> <p>"For the flu. Aren't you listening to me?"</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/4syringes.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%">&nbsp;</div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/VV-Cover-High-res-April-2013-right-side-620x867_0.jpg" style="height: 280px; width: 200px;"></div> <p><strong><a href="">The Vicious Case of the Viral Vaccine (2013):</a></strong> Mae, the daughter of a research nurse, believes the new Universal Flu Vaccine is safe, but her classmate Clinton isn't so sure. As protests against the vaccine heat up, Selectra Volt, Dudette from the Future&mdash;a time-traveler&mdash;sends them on a mission to go back in time and see how vaccines were developed. On their journey, they visit the likes of Louis Pasteur and Jonas Salk, creator of the polio vaccine. They must return to the present in time to uncover a plot against the new flu vaccine.</p> <p><strong>Excerpt</strong>: "That vaccine could make people really sick," Clinton burst out.</p> <p>Mae clutched her current events report and looked out at the class. "It won't. My mother worked on this vaccine. and it's safe. Only crazy people think it isn't."</p> <p><strong>Rating:</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/1-syringe_0.jpg"></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href="">The Vaccine Aliens</a> (2005): </strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/VaccineAliensGallup_0.jpg" style="height: 260px; width: 200px;"></div> <p><strong>Summary: </strong>A son develops autism after getting the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine. The father then discovers that in addition to causing autism, the MMR vaccine is part of a plot by shape-shifting aliens to destroy the human race.</p> <p><strong>Extra:</strong> Author Raymond Gallup is the president of the Autism Autoimmunity Project. In 2002, he wrote a letter on the anti-vax site <a href="">VaccinationNews</a> responding to a <em>Time</em> magazine story headlined "The Secrets of Autism." In the letter, he alludes to some of the sinister themes of his book, claiming that "the medical community and government health officials avoid the vaccine/autism link of the MMR vaccine."&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Rating:</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/5syringes2_0.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%">&nbsp;</div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><a href=";ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1423426614&amp;sr=1-13&amp;keywords=vaccine">No Vaccines for Me!</a> (2010):</strong></p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/Cover-No-Vaccines-For-Me_small_0.jpg" style="height: 261px; width: 200px;"></div> <p><strong>Summary:</strong> This "interactive family book" is written by Kathleen Dunkelberger, a registered nurse. It's a collection of illustrated stories that go through the history of vaccines, their ingredients, potential dangers and side effects (including autism), government connections to the pharmaceutical industry, and more.</p> <p><strong>Excerpt:</strong> "Babies and kids don't always need shots.&nbsp;Many doctors and nurses know this now, but there are still some who will try to give these shots to all people of all ages. They sometimes try to give them to children in school. These shots are called vaccinations (vax-sin-nay-shuns). Vaccinations can be given as a shot, a liquid to take in your mouth, or as a spray mist up your nose."</p> <p><strong>Rating</strong>:</p> <div class="inline inline-left" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/5syringes2_1.jpg"></div> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%">&nbsp;</div></body></html> Media Books Science Top Stories vaccines Fri, 13 Feb 2015 11:45:06 +0000 Hannah Levintova 270211 at This Scrap Metal Law Is Being Used to Disarm Pennsylvania's Gun Laws <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In the past month, towns across Pennsylvania have been scrambling to scrap their gun laws. <a href="">Clairton</a>, <a href="">Allentown</a>, and <a href="">West Mifflin</a> have rescinded rules banning guns in city parks or requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons. Other localities, like <a href="">Reading</a> and <a href="">College township</a>, have announced plans to imminently repeal all laws regulating firearms.</p> <p>Some of the city councilmembers and officials behind the repeals are doing so grudgingly. "It's not something I ever intended to do," one Munhall councilman <a href="">told the <em>Pittsburgh Tribune-Review</em></a> after the town decided to undo a local gun law. Homestead's mayor <a href="">called</a> the entire thing "absolutely ridiculous." "We're basically being forced to repeal these laws at gunpoint," Doylestown's council president wrote on <a href=";set=a.67491546966.93791.609881966&amp;type=1&amp;permPage=1">his Facebook page</a>. "Every local gun law must go!"</p> <p>The statewide shakeup is the result of a law that morphed from a sleepy anti-theft bill into a blatant attempt to roll back gun control across the Keystone State. In January 2013, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced <a href=";sind=0&amp;body=H&amp;type=B&amp;bn=80">House Bill 80</a>, a bipartisan measure to create penalties for stealing scrap metals. It passed the state House handily and headed to the state Senate. But last October, the bill took a detour: With Republican Gov. Tom Corbett facing a tight reelection race, GOP lawmakers tacked a stalled four-year-old gun bill onto HB 80 in the final hours of the legislative session. The bill passed <a href=";sess_ind=0&amp;rc_body=S&amp;rc_nbr=810">by a wide margin</a>. A few days later, Corbett signed the bill before a <a href="">room of</a> <a href="">gun lobbyists</a> and activists at a sportsmen's club. Nobody mentioned scrap metals. "By signing this, we are helping protect the rights of hunters and other sportsmen and sportswomen," <a href=";id=398840163496913">said Corbett</a>.</p></body></html> <p style="font-size: 1.083em;"><a href="/politics/2015/02/pennsylvania-preemption-local-gun-laws"><strong><em>Continue Reading &raquo;</em></strong></a></p> Politics Guns Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Mon, 09 Feb 2015 11:00:09 +0000 Hannah Levintova 269721 at These Badass Russian Lesbians Just Took the Best Selfie Ever—Because It Actually Matters <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>When Kseniya, the head of a lesbian night club in St. Petersburg, Russia, and her partner boarded their flight home from Moscow this week, they weren't expecting to run into one of their local politicians&mdash;much less the lawmaker who's been trying to make their lives hell. The women realized that Vitaly Milonov, a key architect of <a href="" target="_blank">Russia's infamous</a> "<a href="" target="_blank">gay propaganda</a>" bill, was sitting one row behind them on their Aeroflot flight, and decided this would be the perfect moment for a kissing selfie (Milonov is the redhead with the glasses):</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"><a href="" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">&ETH;&#154;&Ntilde;&#130;&ETH;&frac34; &Ntilde;&#130;&ETH;&deg;&ETH;&frac14; &ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&deg; &ETH;&middot;&ETH;&deg;&ETH;&acute;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&micro;&ETH;&frac14; &Ntilde;&#132;&ETH;&frac34;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&micro;??? &ETH;&#156;&ETH;&#152;&ETH;&#155;&ETH;&#158;&ETH;&#157;&ETH;&#158;&ETH;&#146;! &ETH;&deg; &ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&deg;&ETH;&frac14; &ETH;&iquest;&ETH;&frac34;&Ntilde;&#133;&ETH;&micro;&Ntilde;&#128;! &ETH;&#156;&Ntilde;&#139; &ETH;&raquo;&ETH;&micro;&Ntilde;&#130;&ETH;&cedil;&ETH;&frac14; &ETH;&sup2; &ETH;&raquo;&Ntilde;&#142;&ETH;&plusmn;&ETH;&cedil;&ETH;&frac14;&Ntilde;&#139;&ETH;&sup1; &ETH;&ordm;&ETH;&raquo;&Ntilde;&#131;&ETH;&plusmn; "&ETH;&#152;&ETH;&frac12;&Ntilde;&#132;&ETH;&cedil;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&cedil;&Ntilde;&#130;&ETH;&cedil;"</a></p> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;">A photo posted by &ETH;&frac14;&ETH;&frac34;&Ntilde;&#143;&ETH;&plusmn;&ETH;&micro;&Ntilde;&#129;&ETH;&ordm;&ETH;&frac34;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&micro;&Ntilde;&#135;&ETH;&frac12;&ETH;&frac34;&Ntilde;&#129;&Ntilde;&#130;&Ntilde;&#140; (@infinitykseniya) on <time datetime="2015-01-31T19:43:07+00:00" style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;">Jan 31, 2015 at 11:43am PST</time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The caption says: "Who's that behind us??? MILONOV! And we don't give a shit! We're flying to our favorite nightclub, 'Infinity'"</p> <p>In a <a href=";_ylt=AwrTcdyLcdJUDh8A724nnIlQ" target="_blank">statement to AFP</a> yesterday, Milonov said the couple's selfie "shows that all LGBT people are mentally ill." (Yes, solid reasoning.) Kseniya later <a href="" target="_blank">posted more information</a> about the encounter, along with more photos, on her Vkontakte page:</p> <p>"Lots of people are asking me about my last post: Did we really go and kiss in front of Milonov? Was it really Milonov? Maybe it was just somebody who looked like him? What was the flight like? And so on. Here are my answers: Yes it was really Milonov! As fate would have it, he was sitting in the row right behind us. The whole flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Milonov said nothing to us. We staged the photo shoot in front of him, and he hid behind his tablet when he realized. We're all super happy. Him&mdash;probably not so much."</p></body></html> MoJo Wed, 04 Feb 2015 20:24:25 +0000 Hannah Levintova 269626 at South Carolina Law Would Make Kids Study Second Amendment for 3 Weeks Every Year <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><body><p>In August of last year, a 16-year-old high-schooler in Summerville, South Carolina, turned in a creative writing assignment about shooting his neighbor's pet dinosaur. The school's "zero tolerance" policy for guns prompted a search of the student's belongings that turned up no weapons. Nonetheless, he was <a href="">arrested and suspended</a> for what he said was a joke, if one in questionable taste.</p> <p>South Carolina state Rep. Alan Clemmons hopes to use that incident to force public schools to dedicate three weeks each year to teaching a gun-focused curriculum developed or recommended by the National Rifle Association. Traditionally,<a href="" target="_blank"> zero tolerance policies</a> have applied to students bringing weapons to school or simulating their use with toys or hand gestures&mdash;not to academic discussion of guns. Still, in <a href="" target="_blank">the bill</a> Clemmons filed in the state legislature last month he states that these NRA-approved lessons are needed to combat an "intolerance for any discussion of guns or depiction of guns in writing or in assignments in public schools, which is an affront to First Amendment rights and harshly inhibits creative expression and academic freedom."</p> <p>"If anything comes up in a school setting that has to do with firearms, then it's a suspendable offense and criminal charges could ensue," Clemmons <a href="" target="_blank">told <em>WMBF News</em></a>. "The second amendment should be freely debated in schools and instead the second amendment is being squelched in our schools."</p> <p>If passed, the Second Amendment Education Act would require that three consecutive weeks of each year in elementary, middle, and high school be spent studying the second amendment. As Ian Millhiser at <a href=""><em>Think Progress</em></a> points out, that's an enormous chunk of the school year, especially given that some South Carolina schools devote just two weeks to slavery and a week and a half to World War II.</p> <p>The law would also require that every December 15&mdash;the day after the anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook school in Newtown&mdash;be designated "Second Amendment Awareness Day." To celebrate the occasion, schools will be required to hold mandatory poster or essay contests at every grade level, with the theme "The Right To Bear Arms; One American Right Protecting All Others." The South Carolina Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus will be in charge of choosing first, second, and third place winners in both contests.</p> <p>Both chambers of South Carolina's legislature are Republican-controlled, and Gov. Nikki Halley has an <a href="">A+ rating</a> from the NRA. Still, this bill may be too extreme to pass:</p> <p>"Even amongst a conservative constituency in South Carolina, I think they can rate that they have more abiding problems than this," says <a href="">Dr. Dave Woodard</a>, a political science professor at Clemson University who's long served as a political consultant to Republican candidates in South Carolina.</p> <p>"Most people are more concerned with math and science, and the fact that historically, South Carolina's rankings in education have been abysmal. Nobody, I think, would say 'The best way to improve education is to have a three-week segment on the Second Amendment. Boy, that'll move us up in the national rankings!'" says Woodard.</p> <p>The bill includes a list of gun-related topics that must be worked into the curriculum. Several&mdash;including the individual right to bear arms&mdash;are straight out of the <a href="">revisionist interpretation</a> of the Second Amendment that the NRA and its supporters have <a href="">helped popularize</a> since the 1970s.</p> <p>The curriculum would require students from first grade and up to get into the weeds of constitutional scholarship on the Second Amendment. Students will be asked to study Supreme Court cases "including the<em> United States v. Cruikshank</em>, the <em>United States v. Miller</em>, the <em>District of Columbia v. Heller</em>, and <em>McDonald v. Chicago."</em> (The majority arguments in <em>Heller</em> and <em>McDonald</em> <a href="" target="_blank">grew out of</a> the push by pro-gun researchers to redefine the Second Amendment.) The bill also mandates that students learn about "the constitutionality of gun control laws," the causes of mass shootings, and "the impact of legislative reactions to gun violence on Constitutional rights and the impact on reducing gun violence, if any."</p> <p>Clemmons <a href="" target="_blank">identifies as</a> a Second Amendment advocate. He has repeatedly received an <a href="" target="_blank">A rating</a> from the NRA, and has taken part in <a href="" target="_blank">events with the group</a> in his state. In 2013, he was featured on the <a href="" target="_blank">NRA's website</a> after <a href="" target="_blank">taking a trip</a> to Connecticut to convince gun manufacturers, put off by tightening gun control legislation in the state post-Newtown, to move their operations to South Carolina.</p> <p>It's unclear if Rep. Clemmons or his cosponsors have hashed out the logistics of the NRA's involvement in developing or approving a curriculum: Jennifer Baker, a spokeswoman for the NRA, tells <em>Mother Jones</em> that the NRA has not made any recommendations on the syllabus envisioned by the bill, nor have South Carolina legislators made plans with the NRA about the group's future role. Attempts by <em>Mother Jones</em> to contact Rep. Clemmons have not been answered, but we will update this story if we receive a response.</p></body></html> Politics Education Guns Top Stories NRA Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:15:04 +0000 Hannah Levintova 268151 at