News of Note

Prosecuting Wall Street

News of Note: 60 Minutes: Prosecuting Wall Street " Two whistleblowers offer a rare window into the root causes of the subprime mortgage meltdown. Eileen Foster, a former senior executive at Countrywide Financial, and Richard Bowen, a former vice president at Citigroup, tell Steve Kroft the companies ignored their repeated warnings about defective, even fraudulent mortgages. The result, experts say, was a cascading wave of mortgage defaults for which virtually no high-ranking Wall Street executives have been prosecuted." (CBS News) It's a huge relief to see bank corruption being exposed on mainstream television. As much as people don't want to hear the ...

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Gene Therapy Protects Against HIV

News of Note: Gene therapy can protect against HIV "The road to a vaccine against HIV has proved to be far longer than originally anticipated. More than 2 million adults are newly infected with HIV every year and, nearly three decades after the virus was first identified, researchers haven’t found a reliable way to prevent infection. The classic vaccine approach, which uses all or part of an inactivated virus to induce immunity, has yielded little success because HIV has managed to disguise most of the easily-recognised external structures that antibodies would target. Researchers have thus had a tough time ...

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Kentucky church bans interracial couples

News of Note: Kentucky church bans interracial couples "A small church in Pike County, Kentucky has voted to ban interracial couples from most church activities “to promote greater unity among the church body... “Parties of such marriages will not be received as members, nor will they be used in worship services and other church functions, with the exception being funerals. All are welcome to our public worship services. This recommendation is not intended to judge the salvation of anyone, but is intended to promote greater unity among the church body and the community we serve.” Harville told The Kentucky Herald-Leader that ...

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Occupy Foreclosed Homes

Looking for another way to fight back against big banks? OccupyOurHomes.org is calling for a national day of action on December 6, 2011. "Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head and a place to call home. Millions of Americans have worked hard for years for the opportunity to own their own home; for others, it remains a distant goal. For all of us, having a decent place to live for ourselves and our families is the most fundamental part of the American dream, a source of security and pride. In 2008, we discovered bankers and speculators had been ...

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For-Profit Private Prisons

News of Note: Private Prison Charges Inmates $5 a Minute for Phone Calls While They Work for $1 a Day

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Their largest facility in Lumpkin, Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA ...

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Google Sets New Industry Standard in Transgender Health Care Benefits

It's nice to see an industry leader such as Google step out front on this important issue. Google's stance will make it easier for other companies to follow suit and offer similar benefits, and, as a matter of competition, make it harder for other companies to refuse to do so. When employers in the same field are desperately fighting to poach top talent from each other, as they are (see the Microsoft bacon cart for more evidence of this trend), Google's new policy sends a strong message about how they value all of their employees. It can ...

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Is Sex For Pleasure Uniquely Human?

Talk Nerdy To Me: Is Sex For Pleasure Uniquely Human? "We have a lot of sex. In human culture, sex is so much more than a means of reproduction. Sex is emotional. Sex is communicative. Sex is fun. And when it comes down to it, for most of us, sex just feels good. We have sex for pleasure significantly more often than we have sex for reproductive purposes. Is this one of those things that makes us uniquely human? "One indication that animals enjoy sexual activity is the act of masturbation. We've all seen our dogs ...

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What We Can Learn From the Dutch About Teen Sex

What Mind Reading: What We Can Learn From the Dutch About Teen Sex  "Teen birth rates are eight times higher in the U.S. than in Holland. Abortion rates are twice as high. The American AIDS rate is three times greater than that of the Dutch. What are they doing right that we're not?... "Coming out of the sexual revolution, the Dutch really decoupled sex from marriage, but they didn't decouple sex from love. If the first piece is that there weren't these immediate associations of teen sex with danger, the second is that it remained anchored in the concept of ...

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What’s Hot Right Now (11/7/11)

Williams Institute, DC Hate Crimes Hearing, Think Progress/lgbt, OLB Research, The Trans Women's Anti-Violence Project, plus  We have long been grateful to the Williams Institute, a University of California Los Angeles think tank advancing sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. In DC we are particularly indebted to the Institute for its involvement and financial support of the current Needs Assessment for our trans community, since the last one was done over 10 years ago. This study is organized and administered by the DC Trans Coalition (DCTC), and more info on it can be found on the ...

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What’s Hot Right Now (10-11-11)

Arse Electronic Wrap-up, Occupy Everything, New National Campaigns, plus  We're back from 2 weeks on the road, participating in and filing blogs on Atlanta's Southern Comfort Conference and then from San Francisco for Arse Elektronika. Arse Elektronika is a production by Monochrom, an Austrian collective of futurist artists describing themselves as "an art-technology-philosophy group" and "an unpeculiar mixture of proto-aesthetic fringe work, pop attitude, subcultural science, context hacking and political activism." They have been producing the European version of AE for many years and are now in their fifth year bringing this parallel one to the United States. This week's ...

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