UK top government official: human rights no longer a "top priority"

The royals with Sir Simon McDonald.

Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office -- the country's most senior Foreign Office official -- told MPs that his department had sidelined human rights work in favour of global trade agreements (the same agreements that allow sovereign wealth funds from the world's most brutal, oppressive states to buy huge swathes of the UK's public institutions at knock-down prices in the Tories' great sell-off of public assets). Read the rest

Molly Crabapple's illustrations from Syria


The illustrator collaborated with Syrian writer Marwan Hisham (a pseudonym), who sent her mobile-phone photos from Syria that she used as the basis for a striking and moving series of illustrations for a Vanity Fair feature. Read the rest

Survivor bandmembers “gobsmacked” at Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee using 'Eye of the Tiger' at rally

Sylvester Stallone in the movie "Rocky 2."
Survivor guitarist and “Eye of the Tiger” co-writer Frankie Sullivan says nobody in their camp granted permission for their 1982 hit song to be featured at a rally for Kim Davis without their permission.

Navajo Nation bears burden of recent Animas mining spill disaster in Colorado

After the Animas River spill, rancher Irving Shaggy is forced to travel a 70-mile round trip to get water for his livestock. "It's going to be a long struggle," he says.
Laurel Morales/KJZZ
The Environmental Protection Agency was investigating an old mine near Silverton, Colo., earlier this month, when it accidentally released 3 million gallons of toxic waste water into the Animas River.

Jailer-owned "Christian business" forced inmates to make cornhole games


Stand Firm Designs' website was taken down for unknown reasons ( snapshot), but when the website was operational you would have learned that the self-described “Christian Construction Business” employed “retired contractors” to make its bean bag “cornhole” boards. What the website didn't say was that the company is owned by two Tennessee jail officials and that they are accused of using prison slave labor to build the boards. They were caught after inmates hatched a plan to expose them:

To prove the items being sold by Stand Firm Designs were made by inmates, Stephney and Brew concealed their names under pieces of wood nailed to the backs of items. They also wrote the number 412148, which refers to a section of Tennessee code that makes it illegal for jail officials to require an inmate to perform labor that results in the official's personal gain. The AP was shown some of the items with the concealed names and numbers.

Stand Firm Designs is operated by Rob Hill, a building trades instructor at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility; Steven Binkley, a computer instructor who works out of a room adjoining the woodworking shop; and Roy Napper, who formerly worked at the jail run by Corrections Corporation of America.

Stand Firm Designs co-owner Roy Napper is standing firm: “All I can tell you is it’s really just a bogus thing. There’s not really any slave labor going on over there,” Napper told the AP. “Since it’s under investigation, I can’t really tell you anything else.” Read the rest

Chelsea Manning threatened with 'indefinite solitary confinement' for expired toothpaste and asking for a lawyer

The infractions she's charged with are so minor, it's hard to believe.

50th anniversary of the Watts Riots: @wattsriots50's real-time history feed


Yosi Sergant says,

This week marks the one year anniversary of the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson. It is also the 50th anniversary of the Watts Riots.

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Journalists arrested in Zambia for publishing allegedly classified documents

Map of Zambia.
A spokesman for police told reporters that both journalists were denying that the letter was classified.

State Department willing to overlook Malaysia's mass graves for the sake of TPP

The fast-track bill rammed through Congress last month lets the president walk right into any trade deal he wants, so long as it's with countries that have decent human rights records. Read the rest

When Firms Become Persons and Persons Become Firms: outstanding lecture

UC Berkeley Political Scientist Wendy Brown came to the London School of Economics last week to discuss her book Undoing the Demos, and her lecture (MP3) is literally the best discussion of how and why human rights are being taken away from humans and given to corporations. Read the rest

Police officer who tortured this handcuffed man had prior record of attacking people


In 2009, Colorado police officer Mark Magness broke an innocent man's arm during an illegal fireworks investigation. Magness pled guilty, but the police department didn't fire him.

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Christ, What an Asshole

"Internet access is not a necessity or human right" -Michael O’Rielly, Republican FCC Commissioner Read the rest

Guys. The White House changed its official social media icons to this.


Kind of a crazy day, right? Read the rest

How the entire internet is reacting to SCOTUS gay marriage ruling (and it's beautiful)


Because #lovewins. Read the rest

Supreme Court upholds marriage equality!

In a 5-4 decision, the court found that bans on same-sex marriage were unconstitutional -- just in time for Pride Day! Read the rest

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