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The Daily Beat is a daily news podcast inspired by the power of social media to spark social change. Tune in Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. as BTR’s social media director, DJ Jen, culls the “Twitterverse” and “blogosphere” to bring you the top stories regarding social justice and human rights issues.
Not to mention, we’ll also feature some of BTR’s top tracks.
Don’t miss a beat!
Yesterday The Raw Story published a Reuters article titled “Obama: ‘We don’t have a domestic spying program.'”
The article reads:
The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert on Friday warning Americans that al Qaeda may be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. It initially announced the embassy closures would be only for Sunday, then extended the closures of some by a week.
Asked whether the controversial surveillance programs helped lead to the intelligence that sparked the warnings, Obama said the programs were critical to counterterrorism work. But he said more needed to be done to assure Americans they were not being spied on themselves.
“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” he said. “What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat.”
Yesterday The Raw Story also published an article titled “Obama outlines plans to dismantle Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
The article’s author Dan Roberts writes:
Efforts to unravel housing subsidies that fuelled the financial crash reached a milestone on Tuesday as Barack Obama said the national housing recovery was now strong enough to begin dismantling federal mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
In a speech in Phoenix, the epicentre of the housing bubble, the president outlined a series of steps he said could limit the negative impact on home buyers of scrapping these billions of dollars in loan guarantees but insisted there was no alternative if future housing bubbles were to be avoided.
Fannie and Freddie, as the two federally-created entities became known, were blamed for encouraging an era of reckless lending and were bailed out by the US government at a cost of $187bn.
Yesterday The Raw Story published an article titled “Stoli’s parent company changes nondiscrimination policy to include gay — but not trans — employees.”
The article’s author Scott Kaufman writes:
The worldwide boycott of Russian vodka by LGBT activists has had little appreciable effect on official Russian policy toward LGBT people, but according to AMERICAblog‘s John Aravosis, it appears to have had an effect on the parent company of Stolichnaya vodka, SPI Group.
A recent update of its “About” page includes a paragraph in which it claims to be “an equal opportunity employer” that doesn’t discriminate “in employment or personnel practices on the basis of race, sex, age, sexual orientation, handicap, religion, national origin.” While such a change in language is, as Aravosis writes, “laudable,” it is unclear what corporate policies it actually reflects.
It fails to mention whether it offers same-sex partners the same benefits as their straight coworkers, for example, and offers no indication as to the protection it does or doesn’t offer transgender employees.
Today Think Progress published an article titled “Prison Attorneys Claim 14-Year-Old Inmate Wanted To Get Raped By Her 40-Year-Old Prison Guard.”
The article’s author Aviva Shen writes:
A Louisiana parish is trying to get out of paying a 14-year-old who was repeatedly raped by her prison guard, with lawyers arguing last week that the girl wanted the sex.
The guard, Angelo Vickers, is serving a 7-year sentence after pleading guilty to molestation of a juvenile. The woman, known anonymously as Mary Doe, is now an emotionally traumatized 20-year-old. Mary Doe sued the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government as well as her attacker, alleging the parish officials should have protected her from Vickers.
Rather than assume liability or try to shift the scrutiny solely on the guard, the parish’s defense strategy is simply to blame the victim. Court papers claim, “Vickers could not have engaged in sexual relations within the walls of the detention center with [the victim] without cooperation from her. Vickers did not use force, violence or intimidation when engaging in sexual relations.”
“These girls in the detention center are not Little Miss Muffin,” one official told the Tri-Parish Times.
Today Think Progress published an article titled “Obama: Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws ‘Are Violating The Basic Morality’ Every Country Should Uphold.”
The article’s author Zack Ford writes:
During an appearance Tuesday night on The Tonight Show, President Obama told Jay Leno that he condemns Russia’s new anti-gay laws banning “gay propaganda” — i.e. any public display that supports or promotes homosexuality. He has “no patience” for countries that target the LGBT community because he believes that people should be treated “fairly and justly”:
OBAMA: I’ve been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people’s basic freedoms, that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country. And I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.
Today AFP published an article titled “British police hold man over Twitter abuse of women.”
The article reads:
British police said on Wednesday they had arrested a 32-year-old man in connection with threats made on Twitter against a woman lawmaker and a feminist campaigner.
Stella Creasy, from the opposition Labour party, has received threats culminating in a tweet of a picture showing a masked man brandishing a knife, and while Caroline Criado-Perez received rape threats.
They are among a number of high-profile women recently targeted by so-called trolls.
The man being questioned by police, from Bristol in southwest England, is the third to be arrested since the allegations came to light two weeks ago.
Today AFP also published an article titled “Obama drops Moscow summit with Putin.”
The article reads:
US President Barack Obama has decided to put off a Moscow summit with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the White House said Wednesday, citing a lack of progress in relations and ‘disappointment’ over the Edward Snowden affair.
Obama talked about the souring relationship with Moscow in a talk show interview late Tuesday, accusing the Russians of slipping back “into a Cold War mentality.”
In a statement, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that while the United States valued what had been accomplished with Russia in Obama’s first term, there had not been enough progress to warrant a summit.
Today The Associated Press published an article titled “Activists: Syrian troops ambush rebels, kill 62.”
The article reads:
Syrian government forces killed more than 60 rebels Wednesday in an ambush near Damascus, a blow to opposition fighters confronting a regime offensive in the capital, activists said.
The state news agency SANA confirmed the ambush near the Damascus suburb of Adra at dawn, saying “dozens” were killed. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 62 rebels died. It did not report any government casualties.
IN OTHER NEWS
Yesterday Think Progress published an article titled “Some Veterans Are Committing Suicide While Waiting To Receive Mental Health Care From The Government.”
The article’s author Sy Mukherjee writes:
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is failing to provide veterans with adequate mental health care and leaving many without treatment for their serious mental illnesses for months, according to a review by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The waiting periods have been so long in some cases that patients with depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have committed suicide while waiting for an appointment.
Yesterday Think Progress also published an article titled “Mostly-White Ohio Suburb Fighting To Prevent Mostly-Black Bus-Riders From Entering Community.”
The article’s author Scott Keyes writes:
A lily-white Ohio suburb is doing everything it can, including risking millions in federal highway funding, to keep mostly minority bus-riders from a nearby city from entering their community.
The showdown began in 2010 when the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority proposed adding three new bus stops in Beavercreek, a largely white suburb 15 minutes east of Dayton. These new stops would give Dayton bus-riders access to Beavercreek’s major shopping mall and nearby businesses, as well as a medical clinic and Wright State University.
Facing the prospect of buses coming in from Dayton, the Beavercreek City Council began enacting as many hurdles as they could to stop the new bus stops. Among the dozen roadblocks included mandating that bus shelters included heated and air conditioning as well as high-tech surveillance cameras, features that would be hugely expensive and are not common at other stops. Unsurprisingly, these demands couldn’t be met and the council rejected the expansion.
And finally, yesterday Think Progress published an article titled “One In Eight Student Loan Borrowers Is In Default.”
The article’s author Alan Pyke writes:
6.5 million Americans are in default on their student loans, roughly one in every eight who have borrowed for their education through the federal government. That is nearly triple the default rate from a decade ago.
The new numbers come from a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau analysis of Department of Education data, released Monday, which also shows that new, generous repayment plans are not being widely used by struggling graduates. Two-thirds of the 15 million borrowers currently repaying their loans are on track with the 10-year repayment plan that is typical for student loans, but most of the remaining 5 million borrowers repaying their loans on a non-traditional schedule are making payments that are not tied to their income.
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