• Alabama Law Would Punish Women Who Have Abortions With 99 Years In Prison

    APRIL 5, 2019 BY MICHAEL STONE

    In an attack on a woman’s right to choose, Alabama lawmakers plan to end all abortion in the state and severely punish any woman who has an abortion with up to 99 years in prison.

    ABC News reports:

    Alabama lawmakers introduced legislation Tuesday that would make performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony unless the mother’s health is in jeopardy.

    The Alabama bill, HB314… would ban all abortions, even those using prescription drugs, as soon as a woman is “known to be pregnant.” It does allow for ending a pregnancy when the fetus has a “lethal anomaly” or to avoid a “serious health risk” to the mother, but there are no exceptions for rape and incest. Any attempt to end a healthy pregnancy would be a felony.

    The Independent reports:

    Alabama is proposing a law that would make carrying out an abortion at any stage of the pregnancy punishable by 10 to 99 years in jail.

    The strict abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would even criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest.

    The bill, introduced earlier this week by conservative Christian Republicans desperate to force women to give birth at any cost, would allow for abortions only when there is “a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”

    Taking a page from conservative Christian anti-abortion propaganda, the over-the-top legislation even goes so far as to equate safe and legal abortion to genocide. The bill states:

    More than 50 million babies have been aborted in the United States since the Roe decision in 1973, more than three times the number who were killed in German death camps, Chinese purges, Stalin’s gulags, Cambodian killing fields, and the Rwandan genocide combined.

    Commenting on the new legislation, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins, said:

    It simply criminalizes abortion Hopefully, it takes it all the way to the Supreme Court to overturn (Roe versus Wade.)

    Calling the proposed law a “death sentence for women across this state,” Staci Fox, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said:

    These bans are blatantly unconstitutional and lawmakers know it — they just don’t care. Alabamians are just pawns in this political game to challenge access to safe, legal abortion nationally.

    Collins is right. Alabama is just the latest state controlled by conservative Christian Republicans trying to ban abortion. For example, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina are all currently considering similar legislation. The ultimate goal is to challenge the 1973 US Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

    Bottom line: In a blatant attack on a woman’s right to choose, a new Alabama law would make abortion punishable by up to 99 years in prison.

    The Republican War on Women continues.

    Alabama Law Would Punish Women Who Have Abortions With 99 Years In Prison (Image via YouTube)
    Alabama Law Would Punish Women Who Have Abortions With 99 Years In Prison (Image via YouTube)



  • Texas Bill Prohibiting Male Masturbation Moves Closer To Becoming Law

    APRIL 8, 2017 BY MICHAEL STONE

    A proposed bill in Texas that would impose a fine for male masturbation is making its way through the state’s legislature.

    House Bill 4260, called the “Man’s Right to Know Act,” would punish male masturbation with a $100 fine, and require men who want Viagra to be subject to a rectal exam.

    The bill, filed earlier this year by Texas legislator Rep. Jessica Farrar (D), was referred to the House State Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

    By focusing on male masturbation, the proposed legislation is an obvious attempt to satirize and draw attention to the unreasonable and dangerous policy proposals concerning women’s reproductive freedom coming from the Republican Party.

    Commenting on her bill, Rep. Farrar told mysanantonio.com:

    A lot of people find the bill funny. What’s not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day, that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access healthcare.

    Farrar is a vocal abortion rights activist, with a long record of opposing legislation in Texas hostile to women’s reproductive freedom.

    The Statesman reports the details of the new legislation prohibiting unregulated male masturbation:

    The bill calls “masturbatory emissions” an “act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life.”

    The bill also contains provisions that would also put restrictions on vasectomies, Viagra prescriptions and colonoscopies, including:

    • The state must create an informational booklet called “A Man’s Right to Know” that contains information and illustrations on the benefits of and concerns about those three treatments. A man must review the booklet before going through with any of them.
    • A man must receive a rectal exam and an MRI of his rectum before any of the three treatments.
    • A man would not be able sue a doctor for refusing to provide those treatments or another procedure if the procedure violates the doctor’s “personal, moralistic, or religious beliefs.”
    • A doctor must obtain consent from the man before providing the treatment, and the man may give it only if he waits at least 24 hours after the doctor’s visit.
    • The state must establish a registry of nonprofit organizations and hospitals that provide abstinence counseling, a supervising physician for “masturbatory emissions,” and semen storage.
    • “Masturbatory emissions” must be stored for the wife for conception.

    The Statesman also notes that current state law “requires that doctors distribute to women considering an abortion the ‘A Woman’s Right to Know’ booklet, which contains illustrations of gestational periods and the risks and side effects of abortions. Women also must wait 24 hours after receiving the booklet and must undergo an ultrasound before the procedure. Abortion of a viable fetus can bring a penalty of at least five years in prison.”

    Earlier this week former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton praised Farrar for promoting the proposed new legislation.  After praising Farrar while speaking at an Annie’s List luncheon in Houston on Friday, Clinton opined:

    I don’t know. The bill may be satirical but the message sure resonated.

    Bottom line: Turnabout is fair play. By focusing on male masturbation House Bill 4260 demonstrates the absurdity and cruelty of the constant and ongoing effort by Republicans to demean and stigmatize women in their pursuit of reproductive health care.

    Texas State Capitol (Image via Wikipedia)
    Texas State Capitol (Image via Wikipedia)



  • Something on Mars Is Producing Gas Usually Made by Living Things on Earth

    Mars emits methane, a European orbiter has confirmed. But scientists can’t say yet whether the source is geological or biological.A view of Mars taken by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft in 2016.CreditESA/DLR/FU Berlin/Justin Cowart

    Kenneth Chang

    By Kenneth Chang

    Methane gas periodically wafts into the atmosphere of Mars; that notion, once considered implausible and perplexing, is now widely accepted by planetary scientists.

    Why the methane is there is still a bewildering mystery. It may even point to present-day Martian microbes living in the rocks below the surface.

    In Nature Geoscience on Monday, scientists working with the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter reported that in the summer of 2013, the spacecraft detected methane within Gale Crater, a 96-mile-wide depression near the Martian equator.

    That is noteworthy, because NASA’s Curiosity rover has been exploring that region since 2011, and in the summer of 2013 it, too, measured a marked rise of methane in the air that lasted at least two months.

    “Our finding constitutes the first independent confirmation of a methane detection,” said Marco Giuranna, a scientist at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy, in an email. Dr. Giuranna is principal investigator for the Mars Express instrument that made the measurements.A view of the Gale Crater on Mars, taken by NASA’s Mars Odyssey.CreditNASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

    The presence of methane is significant because the gas decays quickly. Calculations indicate that sunlight and chemical reactions in the thin Martian atmosphere would break up the molecules within a few hundred years, so any methane detected must have been created recently.

    It might have been created by a geological process known as serpentinization, which requires both heat and liquid water. Or it could be a product of life — specifically methanogens, microbes that release methane as a waste product. Methanogens thrive in places lacking oxygen, such as rocks deep underground and the digestive tracts of animals.

    Even if the source of the methane turns out to be geological, the hydrothermal systems that produce the emissions would still be prime locations to search for signs of life.

    Sign up for Science Times

    We’ll bring you stories that capture the wonders of the human body, nature and the cosmos.SIGN UP

    A decade and a half ago, three teams of scientists reported that they had detected methane in the Martian atmosphere. Two used observations from Earth, and the third used data from Mars Express. All of the measurements were at the edge of the instruments’ capabilities.

    Two years later, the methane seemed to have disappeared. If that finding was accurate, it suggested not only that something was creating methane on Mars, but that something else was quickly destroying it.

    The Curiosity mission initially cast more doubt on the methane claims, as it detected very little of the gas, about 0.7 parts per billion. Then in 2013, the levels jumped by a factor of 10. The following January, levels fell back to below 1 part per billion. The methane disappeared so quickly, and the usual levels are so low, that scientists are now trying to explain how methane could have been destroyed so quickly.

    In the new research, the scientists looked at passes that Mars Express made over Gale Crater during the first 20 months of Curiosity’s mission. For all but one of the orbiter’s observations, no methane was detected. But on June 16, 2013, the instrument measured about 15 parts per billion of methane. A day earlier, Curiosity had also measured elevated methane.

    “It reaffirms the hypothesis that Mars is presently active,” said Sushil Atreya, a planetary scientist at the University of Michigan and a member of the Curiosity science team.

    The Mars Express findings also point to a possible source of the methane, about 300 miles east of Gale. In that region, ice must exist just below the surface. “That methane could be released episodically along faults that break through the permafrost due to partial melting of ice,” Dr. Giuranna said.

    If true, that could be a tempting site for a future spacecraft to untangle the methane mystery.

    Dr. Atreya is less certain of that conclusion, which involves assumptions about Martian weather. The Curiosity scientists thought the methane originated within Gale, to the north of the rover.

    newer European Mars spacecraft, the Trace Gas Orbiter, with a more sophisticated methane detector, has been in orbit since 2017, but no results have been reported yet.

    “I think the game is afoot,” said Michael J. Mumma, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. He led ground-based observations that identified methane plumes in the Martian atmosphere in 2003. “The story is continuing to evolve, and evolving rapidly now.”


  • His ‘swatting’ prank call caused a man’s death. Now he’ll serve 20 years in prison

    Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAYPublished 3:17 p.m. ET March 30, 2019 | Updated 4:33 p.m. ET March 30, 2019

    Police in Los Angeles have arrested a man they suspect made a hoax emergency call that resulted in a SWAT police officer fatally shooting a man at the door of his own home in Kansas, a law enforcement official said Saturday.

    A California man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for making a hoax 911 call that resulted in an innocent Kansas man’s death.

    Tyler Barriss, 26, had pleaded guilty to multiple charges stemming from the “swatting” call – a practice where an individual makes a phony call to 911 to force police to respond with SWAT teams.

    “Swatting is no prank,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a statement. “Sending police and emergency responders rushing to anyone’s home based on utterly false information as some kind of joke shows an incredible disregard for the safety of other people.”

    The 20-year sentence, handed out Friday, is believed to be the longest ever in a “swatting” hoax case, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas said in a statement.

    In December 2017, Barriss made a 911 call reporting a fake hostage situation after he had gotten into an argument with another gamer playing “Call of Duty,” police said. Barriss gave an address he thought to be the other gamer’s, authorities said.

    But that call led to Wichita police surrounding the home of Andrew Finch, 28, who had no connection to the situation.

    “When officers arrived, they believed a man was inside who had killed his own father and was holding family members hostage,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in its statement. “The man who came outside to face police, however, had done nothing wrong and did not know about the swatting call.

    Authorities say Finch dropped his hands unexpectedly and that’s when police fired at him. Finch later died at a hospital. The officer who shot him would not face charges, prosecutors said last April.

    “I hope that this prosecution and lengthy sentence sends a strong message that will put an end to the juvenile and reckless practice of ‘swatting’ within the gaming community, as well as in any other context,” McAllister said Friday.

    Barriss has also pleaded guilty to charges in Washington, D.C., for making hoax bomb threat calls to the FBI and FCC as well as in the Central District of California for more fake bomb threats and phony emergency calls.

    Two other men, Casey Viner, 19, of Ohio, and Shane Gaskill, 20, of Kansas, await trial for charges in connection with the Wichita case. Prosecutors say Viner allegedly asked Barriss to “swat” Gaskill, who then allegedly gave out an address that wasn’t his.

    “I also hope that today’s result helps bring some peace to the Finch family and some closure to the Wichita community,” McAllister added.

    Contributing: Brett Molina and Cydney Henderson

    Follow USA TODAY’s Ryan Miller on Twitter @RyanW_Miller.


  • Dwyane Wade Gets Criticized for Bad Parenting, After Video of Son Strutting Down the Runway

    Posted On : March 29, 2019  

    Dwayne Wade via Instagram

    Dwayne Wade Is Taking Some Heat

    Miami Heat point guard Dwyane Wade is accustomed to being in the media but this time it’s his son that folks are talking about. On Saturday, March 16th, Wade held a fashion show called “A Night on the Runwade” in Miami—a fundraiser benefiting the Wade Family Foundation and the Overtown Youth Center. Some of Wade’s fellow Miami Heat teammates showed their support, and of course, wife Gabrielle Union was in attendance.

    MadameNoire reports one of the models who turned heads on the runway included Wade’s 11-year-old son, Zion.  Zion strutted his stuff, even twirling at one point as Union screamed in excitement. Wade would later have a proud papa moment, sharing the clip of Zion’s walk in his InstaStories with the caption, “Killing sh-t.”

    Dwayne Wade, and wife Gabrielle Union, Instagram

    After watching the video many people made comments in reference to the Zions manner and then criticized the 37-year-old for encouraging his son. Comments erupted like this one from a man on Twitter which said, “Fathers please don’t allow your children to bend and conform to societal pressures”.  However, apparently, Wade had no issue in how Zion walked the runway.