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Fri, 23 Apr 2021
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Handcuffs

Police arrest 2 teens in Georgia baby killing

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© RUSS BYNUM/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sherry West was comforted by Luis Santiago, the child’s father.
A pair of teenagers were arrested Friday and accused of fatally shooting a 13-month-old baby in the face and wounding his mother during their morning stroll through a leafy, historic neighborhood.

Sherry West had just been to the post office a few blocks from her apartment on Thursday morning and was pushing her son, Antonio, in his stroller while they walked past gnarled oak trees and blooming azaleas in the coastal city of Brunswick.

West said a tall, skinny teenager, accompanied by a smaller boy, asked her for money.

''He asked me for money and I said I didn't have it,'' she said Friday from her apartment, which was scattered with her son's toys and movies.

''When you have a baby, you spend all your money on babies. They're expensive. And he kept asking and I just said 'I don't have it.' And he said, 'Do you want me to kill your baby?' And I said, 'No, don't kill my baby!' ''

One of the teens fired four shots, grazing West's ear and striking her in the leg, before he walked around to the stroller and shot the baby in the face.

Red Flag

High-school sex-ed teacher is being punished for saying the word 'vagina'

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© Shutterstock
Tim McDaniel, an 18-year vetaran of the biology department at the public school in Dietrcich, Idaho, might have to figure out how to teach the miracle of life to his high-school students without saying the word "vagina" after a group of unhappy parents found the word offensive. Because now he's kind of in big trouble for, you know, doing his job in the teen pregnancy capital of Idaho. According to what McDaniel told Twin-Falls's Times-News, four parents at the school complained that he taught their children "the biology of an orgasm" and said the word "vagina" during his sex-education lesson to a room of sophomores. Yes, sophomores, some of whom have had vaginas for 14 to 15 years. It's unclear whether the word "penis" was met with equal offense. But, apparently, allegations from parents also complain that McDaniel has shown the film an Inconvenient Truth in class, and according to a letter served to McDaniel by a quick to respond official from Idaho's Department of Education:
[T]he allegations also include that he shared confidential student files with an individual other than their parents, showed a video clip in class depicting an infection of genital herpes, taught different forms of birth control and told inappropriate jokes in class.

Grey Alien

Huffington Post reporter "seeks people who have had sex with aliens"

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Romenesko reader Mike Poller spotted this on HARO (Help a Reporter Out):
Summary: Sex with aliens

Name: David Moye The Huffington Post

Category: General

Email: query-2×59@helpareporter.net

Media Outlet: The Huffington Post

Deadline: 7:00 PM EST - 22 March

Query:

HuffPost journalist is doing a story about the concept of sex with aliens. Would like to speak with people who've had sex with aliens, UFO experts, biological experts who can discuss the potential problems of mating with a foreign species, psychological experts who have studied the phenomenon.

Requirements:

Looking for people familiar with the phenomenon of sex with aliens, considering all points of view skeptics and believers.

Alarm Clock

Police prevent hungry crowd from taking free food


Law enforcement officials pushed back hundreds of people who were crowding around a large pile of merchandise outside an Augusta grocery store Tuesday afternoon.

But the goods sitting in the parking lot of the Laney Supermarket didn't make into anyone's hands.

Instead, the food people hoped to take home was tossed into the trash.

"People have children out here that are hungry, thirsty, could be anything. Why throw it away when you could be issuing it out?" asked Robertstine Lambert.

The Marshal of Richmond County, Steve Smith, says the food wasn't theirs to give away, so they had to trash it.

Black Cat 2

Child porn downloads cause raid at Catholic parish in Missouri

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Federal and state authorities on Tuesday raided a Catholic parish in Independence, Missouri as part of an investigation into child pornography.

A spokesperson for the Catholic Dioceses of Kansas City-St. Joseph said that investigators tracked down child porn downloads to an IP address used by an unsecured wireless network at the offices of St. Ann Parish in Independence, according to The Kansas City Star.

Four computers seized in the raid will be analyzed to determine if they were used to download the illegal material from a peer-to-peer network. It is possible, however, that outside computers accessed the wireless network because it was not password protected.

Attention

Steubenville case highlights need to rewrite rape laws

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© AP
Rather than trying to prove a rape victim was capable or not of saying 'no', it should be demonstrated that both parties said 'yes', which will protect victims in an environment when rapists tend to escape punishment lightly
The current legal model for prosecuting rape should shift to that of 'affirmative consent'.

Earlier this month, the Steubenville, Ohio high school football players who sexually penetrated an intoxicated and sometimes unconscious teenage girl were found guilty of rape. The boys' defence was that the girl was drinking, but she wasn't so drunk that she couldn't have said no if she didn't like what they were doing. A week before that, on the HBO television show Girls, one of the lead male characters initiated a variety of sex acts that his girlfriend clearly did not enjoy or anticipate, but to which she doesn't exactly say "no" even though she doesn't exactly say "yes", either. Think pieces and 140-character philosophies on consent abounded. Were the events in Steubenville and the scene on Girls rape, rape-rape, unfortunate misunderstandings or just bad sex?

To abate our widespread confusion about sex and consent, we need to change our understanding of masculinity, sexual virtue and sex itself. But we also need to change the law. Rape laws have always both reflected and shaped our cultural views of women and of sex, and our modern system is no exception. The feminist movement of the 1970s achieved significant victories in how our legal system deals with rape and sexual assault. Decades later, our understanding of sex crimes is more evolved, and it's time for another legal shift to reflect that.

Arrow Up

Bad PR: University of North Carolina drops proceedings against rape victim after national outrage

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University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp on Tuesday asked the school's Honor Court to drop its proceedings against a student who said she was raped.

"For several weeks, the University has grappled with how best to respond to a public claim of retaliation against the University while maintaining the autonomy and integrity of our Honor Court proceedings and the privacy of the individuals involved," Thorp said in a message to students.

"Recognizing the potential conflicts that may exist by allowing both processes to continue, we have asked the Student Attorney General to suspend the Honor Court proceeding pending an external review of these allegations of retaliation," he continued. "The University takes all allegations of retaliation seriously, whether against an individual or an institution, and this allegation is no exception."

The situation has prompted outrage across the nation. Landen Gambill, a sophomore at the university, found herself facing the threat of expulsion after speaking out against her ex-boyfriend and abuser. Along with other students and a former assistant dean, Gambill filed a federal complaint against UNC in January over its handling of sexual assault cases.

Book 2

Another slant on Aaron Swartz: Opening access to information

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© Reuters
Internet activist and programmer Aaron Swartz, who helped create an early version of RSS and later played a key role in stopping a controversial online piracy bill in Congress, committed suicide in New York in early January
Author details her experience of getting open access to a scholarly archive that had been locked away from the public.

"Ah, it must be desolate and sad to outlive one's own heart," wrote the author of a handful of ground-breaking works, published early in the 19th century, shortly before he joined a recent acquaintance in a meticulously planned suicide pact and carried it out, by all accounts, to the letter.

Among many other things, certainly, I thought a lot about Heinrich von Kleist, and re-read some of his work, as I tried to make sense of the devastating news of the suicide of Aaron Swartz and of the events that led to that premature and apparently senseless ending.

At a loss, I plumbed the reserves of several decades of reading, teaching and writing about literature and the history of philosophy in an attempt to locate at least one example, a telling instance from the (possibly) remote past that would illuminate this episode from the proximate past that seemed pointless, without reason.

As I pored over news reports, editorials, blogs (including Aaron's own), videos of Aaron speaking at conferences and rallies, I was also pulling books off my shelves, returning to pages and passages annotated over the course of multiple readings, marginalia layered as palimpsest.

From Kleist (who had always been my go-to guy on suicide, having not just staged it repeatedly in his work but performed it himself), I reverted to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who had such a manifold impact on subsequent generations of writers.

One of the protagonists in his epistolary novel Julie, ou la nouvelle Heloise, finding that his "soul is oppressed with the weight of life", delivers an impassioned argument for the human right to "willful death":
"The more I reflect on it, the more I find that the question comes down to this fundamental proposition: to seek what is good and flee what is ill for oneself insofar as it offends no one else is the right of nature. When our life is an ill for us and a good for no one then it is therefore permissible to deliver oneself of it."
Rousseau's St Preux concludes his case with an invitation to his interlocutor to join him in the kind of suicide pact in which Kleist would later (in the aftermath of his own reading of Rousseau) enlist his new friend.

In the event, St Preux, whose "life" as a fictional character is arguably more dispensable, goes on to live another day - but not before summoning for his reader the spectre of Cato, the Roman warrior (and thorn in the side of Caesar) whose gruesome suicide is immortalised in Plutarch.

Perhaps naively, I was still in quest of an example that might throw Aaron's final act into relief. Possibly biography and historiography would furnish what literature, thus far, had not. Like most people on the planet, I don't happen to own a copy of Plutarch's Lives, so I logged on in order to refresh my memory of the details of his account of (the in many ways exemplary) Cato.
"Some impressions are everlasting; neither time nor care can erase them. The wound heals, but the mark remains, and this mark is an honourable seal that protects the heart from another blow."

- St Preux, Rousseau's character
Here is what happened next: My Google search for "Plutarch life of Cato" turned up a link to Jstor - the "digital library of academic journals, books and primary sources" that Aaron had infamously hacked from a closet at MIT, downloading onto his laptop the numerous files that would shortly thereafter result in his indictment by the district attorney for Massachusetts.

Bad Guys

Military suicides hit epidemic levels - is it stress or the drugs used to treat it?

Unimaginable stress, irrepressible memories, psychoactive prescription drugs make lethal combination.

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Is it the post-traumatic stress from repeated tours in war zones or Big Pharma’s drugs that are being used to treat it?
With what must be one of the strangest statistics in the history of wartime, the Pentagon has released the fact that more soldiers are dying overseas by committing suicide than from combat wounds - about one a day. July 2012 was the worst on record, a month that saw 38 soldiers take their own lives and with 349 recorded for the year. These figures have doubled in the past decade.

More alarming yet is the report that America's returning vets are committing suicide at the unprecedented rate of more than 20 each day - "one every 65 minutes," reported Daily News of New York City - but there is no official answer as to why this happening.

Is it the post-traumatic stress from repeated tours in war zones or Big Pharma's drugs that are being used to treat it?

Arrow Down

Has dog meat been found in our food in the UK?

Unknown Meat
© Daily Mail
Tests: A documentary team sent meat samples from six London takeaways to be tested. Meat from one lamb curry could not be identified as originating from any common meat source.
A mystery meat, which has defied the best efforts of scientists to identify it, has been found in a lamb curry as part of an investigation into food fraud.

The discovery raises new questions about just what is going into the nation's takeaways and processed foods.

A BBC documentary to be aired on BBC3 tonight sent samples of curries and kebabs bought from six outlets in London for laboratory tests.

However, most alarming of all was a curry. A spokesman for the programme said: 'Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse, the results came in for an Indian Lamb Curry.

'It did contain meat, but that meat was not lamb, not pork, nor was it chicken or beef. Not horse, and not goat either.'