anonymous asked:

my sister is a cishet ace and she completely agrees w me that she and all other cishet aces do not belong in the lgbt community. I wish that ~tumblr mogai aces uwu~ would understand that ppl in the real world don't think like them at all.

It’s because they bully subpar advocacy groups like GLAAD into saying “yeah sure I guess teh a is for y’all” that they feel like the rest of the world agrees with them. Literally every single LGBT person I know agrees that cishet and LGBT are mutually exclusive. None of my gender studies professors even mentioned asexuality unless it was a footnote.

Like… the world doesn’t agree with y’all just because some college campuses have to be inclusive
A New Advocacy Group Is Lobbying for the Right to Repair Everything
As all our things become ‘smart,’ companies are increasingly saying that fixing them is illegal.

Last summer, when the Copyright Office asked if anyone wanted to defend the right for video game console jailbreakers to mod or repair their systems, no one had a formal legal argument prepared.  A new association representing repairmen and women across all industries was just formed to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

Repair groups from across the industry announced that they have formed The Repair Coalition, a lobbying and advocacy group that will focus on reforming the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to preserve the “right to repair” anything from cell phones and computers to tractors, watches, refrigerators, and cars.  It will also focus on passing state-level legislation that will require manufacturers to sell repair parts to independent repair shops and to consumers and will prevent them from artificially locking down their products to would-be repairers.

“It’s long overdue,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the group, told me.  “We have all these little businesses trying to repair stuff and running into what they thought were different problems in different industries.  We realized it was all just the same problem.”

That problem — that manufacturers of everything are trying to control the secondary repair market — has two main sources, Gordon-Byrne said.  First, manufacturers use federal copyright law to say that they control the software inside of gadgets and that only they or licensed repair shops should be allowed to work on it.  Second, manufacturers won’t sell replacement parts or guides to the masses, and often use esoteric parts in order to specifically lock down the devices.

These problems have been well known in the smartphone, computer, and consumer electronics for years, and it’s why groups like iFixit and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been able to mount successful challenges to the DMCA in recent years.  Increasingly, however, these problems are spilling over into just about every other industry.

The Repair Coalition — which is also calling itself — includes members from the EFF, iFixit, PC Rebuilders & Recyclers, The Fixers Collective, Public Knowledge, and a series of other smaller industry groups.

“All consumer appliances, from refrigerators to microwaves, very much have repair monopolies from manufacturers, even if you are able to buy parts,” Gordon-Byrne said.  Customers who have dared to repair their refrigerator will get to a certain part of a repair and find that components for thermostats or valve controls are locked down via passwords that manufacturers only give to licensed repair shops that they themselves control.  The problem is only going to get worse as the Internet of Things takes hold.

“We’ve had these kinds of issues for a long time, but now with the electronics-fication of everything, they’re affecting literally everything in the world that is complex enough to have digital components,” Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, told me.

And so The Repair Coalition will primarily work at a federal level to repeal Section 1201 of the DMCA, which states that it’s illegal to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under [the DMCA].”  Thus far, activists have tried to gain “exemptions” to this section — it’s why you’re allowed to repair a John Deere tractor or a smartphone that has software in it.  But the exemption process is grueling and has to be done every three years.

“I don’t like exempting equipment because it’s all conceptually the same problem,” Gordon-Byrne said.

On a state level, the group will push for laws such as one being proposed in New York that would require manufacturers to provide repair manuals and sell parts to anyone — not just licensed repair people — for their products.  The thought is that, if enough states pass similar legislation, it will become burdensome for manufacturers to continue along with the status quo.  At some point, it will become easier to simply allow people to fix the things they own.

“We want to become an umbrella organization for repair,” Gordon-Byrne said.  “We want to help the small repair technicians that aren’t getting help from anywhere else.”

“They’re affecting literally everything in the world that is complex enough to have digital components” – in an increasingly connected world, that’s a big problem.


Considering Journalist Safety, Worldwide

Visiting the campaign site for the Committee to Protect Journalists is quite startling. There are maps, statistics, and there are the numbers of journalists killed recently, and as far back as 1992

We spoke with them recently the state of journalist safety worldwide, and their new digital campaign: Speak Justice

Here’s what Maria Salazar-Ferro, the Coordinator of CPJ’s Impunity Campaign, told us about violence and threats against journalists:

CPJ tracks a wide array of attacks on the press worldwide. Here are some numbers from several of our indicators.

* In 2012, 57 journalists have been killed in direct retaliation for their work worldwide. With this background in mind, the countries with the worse records in targeted murders of journalists this year are Somalia with 12 journalists murdered in retaliation for their work; Pakistan with five, and Syria with three.

* As of December 1, 2011, the countries with the highest number of jailed journalists were Iran, China, Eritrea, Burma, and Vietnam. We will be putting out new stats for 2012 next week.

* The top countries for impunity in murders of journalists—that is where journalists are routinely killed for their work and their killers go free are: Iraq, Somalia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Colombia.

And here’s Maria on what many killed journalists were covering, and who they were:

Of course each case is different, and trends vary between countries and regions. Most journalists who have been murdered covered one of five beats: corruption, politics, crime, armed conflict or human rights—all issues of vital importance to everyday life, and to democracy. They covered these stories at a very local level, which made them more vulnerable. More than 10% were freelancers, which meant they had little institutional support. But most importantly, they received very little protection from authorities—this is evident in the fact that in about 4/10 cases of murdered journalists there had been threats prior to the murder, which meant that the killing could have probably been prevented.

And on their main concern – impunity:

CPJ has found that impunity is a cycle in which journalists are killed, authorities are ineffectual, and for fear, the rest of the press corps self-censors. Speak Justice is looking to demand justice for murdered journalists from the grassroots up, and gain convictions in countries with high rates of impunity. In 2013, our advocacy will focus on the Philippines, Mexico, Russia and Pakistan.

The Speak Justice site will go live next week.

FJP: We’ve covered the violence against Mexican journalists a great deal, and those interested may want to look under our Mexico tag, and see this piece, as well as our interview with documentary filmmaker Bernard Ruiz.

Remember all that talk about Clinton’s emails?  The ones that the DNC and the media played off as innocent “oops,” but we know better?  As expected, contained within those emails is damning evidence of Clinton’s corruption, selling favors for “donations.”

“The drip, drip, drip continues: The latest batch of State Department emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure, released Tuesday, further highlights the occasionally overlapping interests between the agency and the Clinton Foundation….The emails in question—which were obtained from the State Department via a Freedom of Information Act request and then published by Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group—are between two of Clinton’s closest State Department aides, Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, and a senior executive at her family foundation, Douglas Band, who at the time was leading the Clinton Global Initiative…In one 2009 exchange, Band reached out to Mills and Abedin in an attempt to put Gilbert Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire who had donated heavily to the foundation, in touch with the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. Abedin’s response suggests she’d make the connection. “I’m sure he knows him,” she wrote in reference to Jeffrey Feltman, who was the American ambassador to Lebanon at the time. “I’ll talk to jeff.”[1]

"It’s been clear for a while now that Hillary Clinton’s State Department did some favors for individuals who also happened to be big donors to the Clinton Foundation. The scope of Clinton’s favor-trading operation, though, has been unclear. Was the State Department completely transformed for four years into a Clinton-enriching lobbying firm, as Donald Trump has hyperbolically alleged? Or are we talking more about a few perfunctory meetings here and there? A new Associated Press investigation attempts to answer that question, and the results are not flattering for Hillary:
At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.”[2]

It’s not uncommon to make reasonable donations to meet VIPs.  $500 a plate dinners or $250 tickets to charity balls would probably get you a 2 second handshake with a candidate as they work the room.  For a few hundred more, maybe even a posed picture.  But there’s no strings attached: no exchange of favors, no selling out national interests.   What the Clinton Foundation did was above and beyond small donations for a smile and handshake.

Actual pay-to-play exchanges occurred, such as using her influences within the State Department to make arrangements for Visas and clearances for donors. [3]  

For a price, the former Secretary of State would turn a blind eye to human rights violations:
“When workers at the country’s largest independent oil company staged a strike in 2011, the Colombian military rounded them up at gunpoint and threatened violence if they failed to disband, according to human rights organizations…
For the United States, these were precisely the sorts of discomfiting accounts that were supposed to be prevented in Colombia under a labor agreement that accompanied a recently signed free trade pact liberalizing the exchange of goods between the countries…That formulation had previously drawn skepticism from many prominent Democrats, among them Hillary Clinton. Yet as union leaders and human rights activists conveyed these harrowing reports of violence to then-Secretary of State Clinton in late 2011, urging her to pressure the Colombian government to protect labor organizers, she responded first with silence, these organizers say. The State Department publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights, thereby permitting hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to flow to the same Colombian military that labor activists say helped intimidate workers.
At the same time that Clinton’s State Department was lauding Colombia’s human rights record, her family was forging a financial relationship with Pacific Rubiales, the sprawling Canadian petroleum company at the center of Colombia’s labor strife. The Clintons were also developing commercial ties with the oil giant’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, who now occupies a seat on the board of the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global philanthropic empire.” [4]

These are just a few examples of the direct cases of selling favors for donations that we know about, where donor + favor were identifiable and linkable.  What about the $2 billion worth of donations from questionable cases?
“Hillary and Bill Clinton’s Foundation has raised over $2 billion dollars, and “some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government, including Kuwait, Qatar and Oman…The Washington Post reported [in February] that foreign sources, including governments, made up a third of those who have given the foundation more than $1 million over time.” [5]

If you’re as naive as the DNC would like, you might be wondering, how do donations to her "non-profit foundation” help her personally, or her campaign?  Non-profits are easy venues to legally launder money.[6]  E.g., you donate $1m to my foundation, I allocate $100,000 of that to some token charity, then pay the remaining $900,000 to a friend or relative as “wages” for being an “employee” of the foundation.  Now I owe you a $1m favor, payable as Secretary of State or future POTUS.

Or I can hire people with the foundation’s funds, and then have them “volunteer” for my campaign. Maybe it’s just coincidence that many of DNC and Clinton’s campaign leaders also happened to be former employees of the Foundation:
“Dennis Cheng, who previously served as chief development officer at the Clinton Foundation, is expected to be finance director. Other key players in Clinton’s orbit with ties to the foundation include Craig Minassian, the foundation’s chief communications officer, and Kamyl Bazbaz, daughter Chelsea Clinton’s chief spokesman. Katie Dowd, who worked for Clinton at the State Department and Clinton Foundation, is set to be digital director.”[7]

And these are just the prominent names.  How many minor staffers and “volunteers” are/were also getting paid via the Foundation?  Perhaps we’ll find out with the release of the next batch of emails.








Picture credit:
Burned remains of missing transgender woman found in Turkey
The Istanbul sex worker was last seen getting into a man’s car a week ago. Her burned remains were found near the district of Zekeriyaköy.

Hande Kader worked as a sex worker. Her friends and lover, who identifies only as D, reported her missing about a week ago. She was last seen getting into a man’s car. Her friends believe he was a potential customer. Police launched an investigation into her disappearance and subsequently found burned remains near Zekeriyaköy.

According to D, Kader wore specific prosthetics, which helped in the process of identifying her body. Kader’s family have been informed and a funeral will take place once they arrive in Istanbul. 

This is the second known murder of a Turkish trans woman this year. In January, Hande Öncü, was found murdered in Vienna. She had left Turkey in an effort to escape transphobic discrimination.

Her family subsequently refused to pay for her body to be returned to Turkey for burial, leaving a Turkish trans advocacy group, Trans Angels, to cover the costs. Transgender people face widespread discrimination in Turkey. Earlier this summer, local police used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a Trans Pride march in Istanbul, while the annual LGBT Pride march was refused permission by authorities to take place. 

(via US pro-Palestinian student group compiles lists of Jews on campuses — report - The Times of Israel)

Sudents for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a pro-Palestinian student advocacy group, has been compiling lists of Jewish students on college campuses in North America and detailing their dorm address information, raising fears for the students’ safety, Israel Radio reports.

The report came as the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee met earlier Tuesday to discuss Israel boycott efforts at US colleges.

The head of the committee, Likud MK Avi Dichter, says Israel “has a commitment [to protect] to every Jew when they are attacked for being a Jew,” and pledged Israel would help combat campus efforts to delegitimize the Jewish state.

besides being an emotional support program, what is an anti-aphobia social movement… actually doing?

i know y’all love to list the social ills you face but like… what’s the gameplan in actually addressing those problems?

like what tangible resources and advocacy are part of the game plan?

like i can easily list all the resources and legal advocacy work lgbt groups have and do but… what would an anti-aphobic grassroots look like, exactly??

how do y’all plan on actually changing society

anonymous asked:

Fix the app please. Have Adam do it if you want to

Adam’s kind of busy working with his LGBTQ advocacy group right now.

But we will print out your request and hot glue it to his laptop so he can’t ignore it.



Actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf and the wife of a police officer, teamed up with ACLU and advocacy group HEARD, on an American Sign Language video to ensure deaf people know their rights when interacting with law enforcement.

When police officers don’t realize deaf and hard of hearing people can’t hear them, it has led to police officers brutally assaulting deaf people and other tragedies.

While this video aims to ensure that deaf people know their rights, they can only do so much. It is the responsibility of police departments to ensure that their officers are adequately trained.

The right-wing coup d’etat continues. Conservative advocacy groups bankrolled by the Koch brothers are quietly marshaling support for a constitutional convention to get a balanced budget – amendment, among other nefarious right-wing goals. The plan rests on Article 5 of the Constitution allowing states to draft their own constitutional amendments whenever two-thirds of their legislatures demand it.

With Republicans controlling so many state legislatures, 28 states have already adopted resolutions calling for a convention on a balanced-budget amendment, including 10 in the past three years, and two, Oklahoma and West Virginia, this spring. That’s just six states short of the 34 needed.

Not only would a balanced-budget amendment be bonkers – preventing government from being the purchaser of last resort when consumers and businesses aren’t spending enough to keep the economy going – but such a convention could easily spiral out of control. There’s no historic precedent: All other 27 amendments to the Constitution have come through the alternative (and safer) route requiring a vote of two-thirds of both houses of Congress to propose an amendment, followed by ratification by three-fourths of the states.

Once convened, a constitutional convention could stray far beyond its assigned purpose – for example, amending the constitution to bar same-sex marriage or abortion, limit government’s power to tax, eliminate the distinction between church and state, and limit eligibility for citizenship. The only certainty is that a constitutional convention convened by the right will not reverse “Citizens United.” If anything, it would further entrench America’s oligarchy, including the Koch brothers.

Robert Reich

Read The NYTimes Story

BREAKING: Activists protest Trump, Rubio at Orlando anti-LGBT conference
Members of Equality Florida and other activists protested Donald Trump and Marco Rubio outside an anti-LGBT conference in Orlando on Thursday.

Activists on Thursday gathered outside a hotel in Orlando, Fla., to protest Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) over their scheduled appearances at an anti-LGBT conference.

Supporters of Equality Florida, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, and other activists specifically criticized Rubio for his decision to deliver the keynote address at the “Rediscovering God in America” conference that began on Thursday.

The Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBT legal group based in Orlando, is organizing the two-day gathering through the Florida Renewal Project that is taking place at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.

Liberty Counsel Chair Mat Staver, who represented Rowan County (Ky.) Clerk Kim Davis, is among those who are scheduled to speak at the conference that is taking place two months after a gunman killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub. Bill Federer, who said in 2015 that Europe will soon be “taken over by Islam” because it has embraced a “neutral-secular-gay agenda,” is also expected to address the hundreds of people who are expected to attend.

Trump is expected to speak at the conference on Thursday.

“We will never allow bigotry and hatred to go unchecked in our backyard,” Hannah Willard of Equality Florida told the Washington Blade after a press conference at which family members of the Pulse nightclub massacre victims, local activists and clergy spoke.

The hotel in which the conference is taking place is located roughly 10 miles from the Pulse nightclub.

The gunman — an American who was born to parents from Afghanistan — pledged his allegiance to the so-called Islamic State during the massacre. His father, who attended a Hillary Clinton rally in Kissimmee, Fla., earlier this week, told reporters that his son had recently become “very angry” when he saw two men kissing in Miami.

Trump reiterated his calls to temporarily ban Muslins from entering the U.S. in the wake of the June 12 massacre that is the deadliest in recent U.S. history. The Republican presidential said during a rally in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday that President Obama “founded” the so-called Islamic State.

“Instead of honoring the memory of those we lost at Pulse two months ago, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio have come to Orlando to headline a gathering of some of the nation’s most incendiary anti-gay bigots,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile and Earl Fowlkes, chair of the DNC LGBT Caucus, in a joint statement they issued on Thursday. “We at the DNC join all people of good conscience in expressing our solidarity with the Orlando LGBT community as they continue to grieve the deadliest shooting in American history.”

“We suggest Trump and Rubio disavow these anti-gay extremists who have likened gay people to Nazis and characterized HIV/AIDS as divine ‘penalties’ for being gay,” they added. “Failing to do so will be yet another example of the utter lack of judgment that makes Trump unfit to serve.”

Rubio, who has endorsed Trump, defended his decision to speak at the conference in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times.

“The event I will speaking at in Orlando is a gathering of local pastors and faith leaders,” said the Florida Republican who announced his re-election bid after ending his presidential campaign earlier this year. “Leave it to the media and liberal activists to label a gathering of faith leaders as an anti-LGBT event.”

“It is nothing of the sort,” added Rubio. “It is a celebration of faith.”

Pelosi to visit Pulse nightclub

The conference is taking place roughly two weeks after Christine Leinonen, the mother of Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, one of the gay victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre, spoke in support of gun control during an emotional speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) are among the Republicans who have signed a resolution in support of banning anti-LGBT discrimination in Florida. Orlando “El Fenómeno” Cruz, a gay Puerto Rican boxer, dedicated a fight to the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre that took place in Kissimmee, Fla., on the eve of last month’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Clinton placed a bouquet of flowers at a makeshift memorial outside the Pulse nightclub on July 22 after she met privately with some of the family members and friends of the massacre victims and local advocates. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is scheduled to visit the site on Thursday and meet with those who lost loved ones.

A Trump campaign spokesperson has not returned the Blade’s request for comment on the conference or whether he plans to visit the Pulse nightclub.


SAGE - A1084438

**TO BE DESTROYED 08/21/16**RETURNED TO THE ACC AFTER ONE HOUR BY A CRACKPOT WHO DECIDED SAGE WAS “TOO BIG.” Just in case anyone was thinking it’s an emotional delight to run a volunteer advocacy group which fights the uphill battle of trying to help cats and dogs get happy endings from the ACC, rather than death sentences…..let’s be real for just a minute. It’s hard. It’s hard to look at hundreds of animals every day and wonder which ones won’t make it; it’s hard to ignore family and friends and pets and jobs, only to know the GONE folder is filling up a little bit more, every day. It’s hard but it’s the kind of manageable hard that gets done because there are also GOOD, HAPPY endings, animals who go on to live amazing lives; there are the messages we get from people whose former death row pets have enriched their lives so, so much. And then along comes SAGE, returned by someone after ONE STINKIN’ HOUR because he was “TOO BIG.” Too big for what?! This gorgeous, AVERAGE-rated, NEUTERED boy weighs just under 10 pounds and it’s not like he expanded exponentially during the SIXTY MINUTES THEY OWNED HIM. Ugh. There are people who walk among us, who should NEVER have pets, and poor SAGE was “owned” by some of those people for about the length of time it takes to bake a meatloaf. Be OUTRAGED, be SHOCKED, but do NOT be inactive! Work relentlessly in order to find a REAL FOSTER or ADOPTER for SAGE, tonight! Please Share:

until recently, in my work related posts ive been referring to the people i support as ‘service users.’ that was the preferred term in the organisation and i think it was meant to get away from terms like ‘patient’ like…i think it was supposed to sound less like one person was dependent, helpless, subordinate or whatever. sort of like ‘customer’ but in a care setting. i have never 100% liked it but for quickness i did prefer it to patient, client or whatnot

despite good intentions, the people we support have expressed at their advocacy group that it makes them feel othered and that it is still too cold and clinical. as an alternative they have suggested simply ‘people we support.’ so from now on i will be talking about the young people, the people we support, the person i was supporting and so on

Something to remember: Having children wasn't always romanticized as loving and nurturing as it is today.

I find it very, very interesting that there’s such a strong disconnect from the past in our modern culture. We like to view the past through rose-colored glasses, romanticize it, and conceptualize it as it would align with our more modern-day morals, laws, and ideals.

But the farther you go back in history, more or less, the more appalling the life of a child becomes. Before labor laws and children’s advocacy groups and legislation, children were essentially commodities, free to be abused and exploited at the will of their parents or whoever was put in charge of them. Childhood and childhood being regarded as a special, sacred time for play and innocence is also a relatively new concept to human existence, as is fatherhood.

The more I read about the past, the more it blows my mind that people believe platitudes like “Life is incomplete without kids” and “We exist for our kids” and even “Kids are our future.” Tell that to the many victims of infanticide, severe emotional and physical abuse, neglect, child marriages, child sex trafficking…oh wait, that all still goes on today, it’s just not as widely practiced or accepted by the majority of the world.

I see playgrounds and theme parks and stuffed animals and think, “Wow. We really, really have come a long way in how we treat children.” Most people don’t fully know of the horrors that exist in the history of child rearing. One Google search of what Krampus is (also check out the deranged Struwwelpeter, and remember that some version of a bogeyman exists in nearly every culture) might be enough to lead you in the direction I’m referring to: treating children not as people, but objects and tiny humans that must be beaten into submission/obedience, with fear, pain, and humiliation.

So when I see people wax poetic about having kids, having a family, etc. I can’t help but want to scream, “This is a modern development!!” or even, “That maternal instinct of yours isn’t real, it’s socially conditioned! Whole cities used to sacrifice babies and children on the daily!”

I wish more people knew about the past, as I think we could gain a broader, more nuanced perspective about the present: We have come a long way in how we treat kids, but since human history is a never-ending bloodbath and horror show when it comes to children, perhaps all of those things we tell ourselves about why having kids is meaningful and fulfilling and wonderful are just byproducts of a more empathetic age, not truths set in stone that command everyone reproduce and be glad to do it.

anonymous asked:

Hey this is akin to something you would've done on your old blog so sorry for reaching out to you here. My partner has been diagnosed with depression and it's been gradually been getting worse. He says I look after him so much he feels useless and worthless, but when I try to encourage them to look after themselves it's very difficult. They won't go to a professional for help. I don't want to end the relationship out of guilt but I'm not sure what else to do. Thanks if you can give advice x

Something that I’ve learned from my last blog is that Tumblr is in no way an appropriate medium to provide advice about serious issues, so I’m afraid I do not give advice on this blog. 

Chances are there are people in your life who have more information and knowledge of the context and specifics of this situation who can give more effective advice than a stranger on the internet could. I would also suggest seeking carers support services or advocacy groups. Again, tumblr is a medium that doesn’t even enable me to have enough information to sign post you on to places that can help. 

I hope that you can find what you’re looking for.
Judge refuses to order deposition in conservatives' Clinton email suit

A federal judge on Friday rejected a request to force Hillary Clinton to submit to a sworn deposition in a lawsuit related to her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, instead she will have to answer questions from a conservative legal advocacy group in writing.

Stanford judge reignites debate after leaving other sex case

SAN FRANCISCO — The Northern California judge who sentenced a former Stanford University swimmer to six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman reignited debate Tuesday about his ability to serve on the bench after removing himself from a separate sex-crimes case.

Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky formally recused himself Monday from deciding whether to reduce a San Jose plumber’s felony child pornography charges to misdemeanours . A law professor called the move unusual and said it makes it look like Persky is susceptible to “political pressure.”

It’s the second sex-crimes case that Persky has departed since his June sentencing of 20-year-old Brock Turner exploded in national media. It comes amid an effort to recall Persky and a formal misconduct complaint that a women’s advocacy group filed with the state agency that disciplines judges.

Another judge will rule on Robert Chain’s child porn case in October.

“While on vacation earlier this month, my family and I were exposed to publicity surrounding this case,” the judge wrote in a brief ruling. “This publicity has resulted in a personal family situation such that ‘a person aware of the facts might reasonably entertain a doubt that the judge would be able to be impartial.’”

Persky didn’t respond to requests for comment. Two attorneys who argue cases in his courtroom have backed up his abilities. Santa Clara County deputy public defender Gary Goodman in June called him a “solid and respected judge,” while defence attorney Barbara Muller said he’s “one of the fairest judges” in the county.

In Chain’s case, Persky said last year that he was “receptive” to reducing the conviction if Chain stayed sober and out of trouble for a year.

Persky, who has handled the case since early 2015, sentenced Chain to four days in jail and ordered him to register for life as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to possessing dozens of sexually explicit images of children. The judge said he would consider reducing the conviction if Chain complied with the terms of his probation.

Chain’s lawyer, Brian Madden, has said his client “worked hard” to turn around his life since his 2014 arrest, including receiving alcohol abuse counselling . Madden didn’t return a phone call Tuesday.

University of California, Berkeley, law professor Christopher Kutz said “no formal or actual conflict” appears to exist between Persky and the child porn case, but the “appearance that he seems susceptible to political pressure” does.

“It’s a very unusual case,” Kutz said.

It comes two months after the district attorney’s office removed Persky from a different sexual assault case, saying “we lack confidence” in the judge’s ability to decide it impartially.

Organizers of an effort to get Persky removed from the bench say they will begin collecting signatures in April to qualify the issue for the November 2017 ballot.

“Case after case, Judge Persky has demonstrated that his own personal bias compels him to prioritize the well-being of privileged men — rapists, abusers and possessors of child porn — over the survivors of their crimes,” said Nita Chaudhary, co-founder of women’s advocacy group UltraViolet, which has asked the Commission on Judicial Performance to remove Persky.

The six-month sentence he handed down to Turner, a Dayton, Ohio, resident who had been attending Stanford on a swimming scholarship, drew outrage. Persky cited a probation department recommendation and the effect the conviction will have on Turner’s life.

A jury convicted the former Olympic hopeful of sexually assaulting a young woman he met at a campus fraternity party in January 2015 after she passed out behind a trash bin. The two had been drinking heavily.

The case sparked a national debate on college drinking and sexual assault.

Stanford unveiled a revised student alcohol policy on Monday, banning hard alcohol from undergraduate parties and shots from graduate gatherings in an effort to combat binge drinking.

Beer and wine are still allowed, a policy that the Distilled Spirits Council says “sends a dangerous message to college students” that beer and wine are “softer” than hard liquor.

Paul Elias, The Associated Press

Since 1970, the number of jailed women has grown 13-fold, from about 8,000 to almost 110,000, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice, a national advocacy group. Nearly 80 percent are mothers of small children, many of them single…

A study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found 75 percent of women in jail said they’d experienced symptoms of a mental health disorder in the last year. Women in jail also tend to have a history of trauma, data show. Eighty-six percent report having endured sexual violence, the report found. Seventy-seven percent said they’d experienced partner violence.

The Vera authors say policymakers should be aware of the unique challenges women face, such as higher unemployment rates, lower average wages and more mouths to feed on their own. They recommend investing in larger diversion programs, which aim to address root causes of incarceration, rather than promptly placing nonviolent offenders behind bars.

—  Danielle Paquette of the Washington Post, published in the News and Observer, 11-21-16