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February 2019

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What I’m Reading – 3 February 2019

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Hate Crimes

“”Two unknown offenders approached him and gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs,” a police statement said. The chemical substance poured on Smollett was not named, but some media reports said it was bleach. “At some point during the incident, one of the offenders wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck,” the statement added.” Jussie Smollett: Empire star victim of suspected hate crime in Chicago (BBC)

Right to Die

“”There is no right or wrong decision. It’s hard to decide you want to die but it’s as hard to decide, I think, that you want to live. She hated it when someone said: ‘It’s so brave that you made this decision.’ She said choosing to live with dementia is just as brave.” Frank adds: “A good friend of mine said, ‘You have to stop your mother – as a son you have to stop her.’ I said, ‘No I’m not going to, I support her.’ His mother said [to me], ‘You’re killing your mother, you’re murdering your mother if you go on with this…’ It’s hard to hear.” Arguments like this are common among families and friends and reflect the wider debate which began in the Netherlands in the 1970s, when doctors first started carrying out so-called “mercy killing” fairly openly. The arguments continued in the run-up to the legalisation of euthanasia in 2002, and have never really stopped.” Wanting to die at ‘five to midnight’ – before dementia takes over (by Andrew Bomford for BBC)

Human Rights

“The annual contest is due to be held in Tel Aviv in May, following Israeli singer Netta’s victory in 2018. The winning country usually hosts the following year’s competition. However, the group of cultural figures, which also includes Mike Leigh, Maxine Peake and Miriam Margolyes, said the event’s “claim to celebrate diversity and inclusion must ring hollow” in light of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. “We cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violation of Palestinian human rights,” their letter read.” Stars urge BBC to ask for Eurovision to be moved out of Israel (by Mark Savage for BBC)

Criminal Punishment System

“While the elected officials toured the detention facility, the Metropolitan Detention Center’s surroundings echoed with the sound of incarcerated people banging on their windows in protest. In answer, hundreds of their family members and other supporters massed outside, chanting, “Humane treatment for all! Get those lights on! Get that heat on!” “I’m just worried about my son’s health,” said Tina Mongo, through tears. “I haven’t been able to speak with him, and I haven’t been able to visit, and I don’t know if he’s alright. I just don’t know.”” “Vicious and Brutal – Life Inside A Freezing Federal Prison Without Heat” (by Nick Pinto for The Intercept)

Reproductive Health

“To hear Republicans talk about it, you’d think women drag out their pregnancies, wantonly waiting to abort until the contractions set in merely for the fun of it. This is, as my colleague Sarah Jones wrote, “the stuff of pulp fiction, and the myth bears little resemblance to reality.” Here’s what’s real: The same people who are hand-wringing over imaginary infanticide are right now, in a very real way, fighting for policies that increase the number of later abortions, and that for some women, amount to a ban on abortion at all stages of pregnancy. If they succeed, they can thank Brett Kavanaugh.” A False War Over Late Abortion (by Irin Carmon for The Cut)

“Each year the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases statistics about abortion in almost all 50 states, and the data clearly shows that complications from abortion are minimal. Of the 652,639 abortions reported to the CDC for 2014, the last year for which data is currently available, only six women were reported to have died from medical complications related to abortion. This government data paints the same picture as reputable studies and reports from the country’s leading medical and health organizations.” Six Facts About Abortion to Counter March for Life’s Junk Science (by Laura Huss for Rewire)

Public Health

“Measles is a contagious virus that spreads through the air through coughing and sneezing. Within three to five days, painful rashes start to appear all over the body. Children and those with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk of dying from measles. Most of the patients thus far are children between the ages of 1 and 10. “These parents think they are avoiding putting something bad in their child’s body—but they are putting other people’s children at risk,” Alan Melnick, director of Clark County Public Health, told The Daily Beast. “There’s a significant number of parents who don’t trust ‘big pharma’—but this actually has nothing to do with that,” Melnick said. “They [some parents] think it causes autism which is absolutely untrue. “It’s nonsense. I just don’t understand it.”” Measles Spreads to 35 Patients in Portland Area, Fueled by Anti-Vaxxers (by Molly Enking and Natalie O’Neill for The Daily Beast)

Taxes 

“Progressive taxation should work as a corrective tax, like tobacco taxes or a carbon tax. Sure, tobacco taxes raise some revenue for the states. But their primary purpose is to curb smoking. While a carbon tax could produce a lot of government revenue, the real point is to limit global warming pollution. In essence, corrective taxes try to put themselves out of business; if tobacco tax revenues decline because people quit smoking, or if carbon taxes stop rolling in because the economy becomes fossil-free, that is victory, not defeat.” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70 percent tax on the rich isn’t about revenue, it’s about decreasing inequality (by Vanessa Williamson for NBC)

Something Good

Today is Austin Kelmore’s birthday. He’s a pretty great guy. Happy birthday!!

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