s3: news

washingtonpost.com
Democrats introduce bill to ban anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy nationwide
The Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 would do nationally what seven states and the District of Columbia have already done.

Earlier this week, Congressional Democrats introduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017, a bill that would ban anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy nationwide. About 70 members of Congress said they support the bill.

The bill would classify conversion therapy and those practitioners who offer it as fraudulent. As you know, it’s been shown many times that conversion therapy does not work and is actually deeply harmful. 

“The bill is very simple,” Lieu told The Washington Post. “It says it is fraud if you treat someone for a condition that doesn’t exist and there’s no medical condition known as being gay. LGBTQ people were born perfect; there is nothing to treat them for. And by calling this what it should be, which is fraud, it would effectively shut down most of the organizations.”

The Washington Post article linked above provides a really good history of conversion therapy, from its earliest opponents to its documented harmful effects to the politicians who still won’t say whether or not they’d support a ban. Give it a read this morning, and cross your fingers for positive change.

Trump thought being president would be “easier”

  • Trump reflected on his first 100 days in office in an interview with Reuters, during which he expressed that he — somehow — believed being president of the whole United States would be “easier.”
  • “I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump said. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.“
  • Trump — who called the 100 day benchmark a ”ridiculous“ standard for judging his performance — has had a rocky start to his presidency. 
  • His first stretch in office has been characterized by high profile failures on health care and his travel bans, along with infighting among staff and large-scale protests. Read more (4/28/17 7 AM)

Female dragonflies crash-dive to their fake death to evade male harassment

  • Researcher Rassim Khelifa from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, witnessed a female dragonfly feign her own demise when being chased by a male dragonfly, according to New Scientist.
  • The female, a moorland hawker dragonfly, instantly plunged to the ground and remained still on her back until the male dragonfly was gone.
  • According to New Scientist, Khelifa observed this behavior in 27 out of 31 female dragonflies in an attempt to avoid being pursued by males, of which 21 were successful. Read more (4/27/17)

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What has Trump actually done in his first 100 days?

In late October, the president made 28 promises for his first 100 days. These were not the only promises the president made for his first 100 days, but they comprised the “contract with the American voter” Trump introduced immediately before the election. 

Here are Trump’s promises, followed by where they stand:

•  "Propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress.“ Not proposed.

•  "A hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety and public health).” Done, then rolled backthis month.

•  "A requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.“ Done.

•  "A five-year ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service.” Done for White House officials, with loopholes.

•  "A lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.“ Done.

•  "A complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.” Not done.

•  "I will announce my intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205.“ Done.

•  "I will announce our withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” Done.

•  "I will direct my Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator.“ Not donesays he won’t.

•  "I will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately.” Done.

•  "I will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.“ In process: Trump ordered a review of what regulations to cut.

•  "Lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward.” Done.

•  "Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.“ Not done.

•  "Cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.” Done.

•  "Begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on my list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.“ Done. Neil Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

•  "Cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities.” Done, but blocked by federal judge.

•  "Begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back.“ Done.

•  "Suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into our country will be considered extreme vetting.” Done, but blocked by federal courts — twice.

Overall, Trump is 14 for 18 on these actions and measures.

Trump also promised to introduce ten pieces of legislation in his first 100 days. He has introduced or announced three of them.

•  Cut taxes for the middle class and businesses. Announced: Trump’s tax plan cuts the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, but it’s unclear how the plan will help the middle class.

•  Establish tariffs on goods created by U.S. companies overseas and shipped back. Not done.

•  Leverage public-private partnerships to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. Not done.

•  Let parents send their child to the school of their choice. Not done.

•  Fully repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace with a conservative option. Introduced.

•  Allow Americans to deduct child care and elder care from their taxes. Not done.

•  Fully fund construction of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Not done.

•  Increase training and support for local police to fight violent and drug crimes. Not done.

•  Increase funding for the military, reform the Veterans Administration. Announced.

•  Enact new ethics reforms to “drain the swamp.” Not done.

Trump is 0 for 10 on passage of those pieces of legislation, and 3 for 10 on introducing or announcing them. Read more (4/28/17)

We live in a unique moment in history – that sweet spot when video games are so realistic and reality is so ridiculous that it’s hard for paid professionals to tell the difference between the two. 

In an effort to better explain the intricacies of an upcoming SpaceX mission, CBC News helpfully provided a computer simulation of a rocket landing, which was actually footage from a cartoony video game called Kerbal Space Program that they ripped from YouTube. The game’s physics are considered impressive, but somehow we doubt astronauts would trust equations calculated by off-brand Minions.

Not to be outdone, Russia Today aired a report on child soldiers in South Sudan that, instead of featuring an actual photo, used a screenshot from Metal Gear Solid V. You know, as if the internet wouldn’t remember a game that sold well over six million copies.

But hey, at least these stations nailed the timeframe within a couple hundred years … unlike Danish television program TV2, which illustrated a report on modern-day Syria with a screenshot of 12th-century Damascus from Assassin’s Creed. To be fair, the Assassin’s Creed games are how we learned about Ben Franklin being a horndog, so it’s not like they’re entirely devoid of historical value.

5 Ridiculously Stupid Things The News Needs To Stop Doing  

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It’s 2017, and women are still being harassed on LinkedIn

When Charlotte Miller accepts a new LinkedIn request from a man, she steels herself for the possibility that he considers LinkedIn more of a dating site than a professional network. Miller (whose name has been changed to protect her privacy), a certified career coach who runs her own business, uses LinkedIn to connect with potential clients. But over the years, she’s received several messages from male users that are sexual, romantic or generally creepy in nature.

Here’s one message she shared with Mic (emphasis ours):

Such knowledge, experience and portfolio in your field of work, I just can’t help but mention how fascinated I am. Your beauty on the other hand makes it all perfect. Beauty and intelligence are like two peas in a pod one needs another. The result, usually magical. It almost immediately reminds me of the Arabian nights when Aladdin strikes his lamp and something exquisite is being conjured into existence. Would be awesome to get to know you.

Miller is one of many women who have experienced unwanted sexual advances, unsolicited comments on their appearance and other forms of sexual harassment on career-networking site LinkedIn. She said she reported several of these inappropriate contacts to the company, but never heard back from them. Read more (4/28/17)

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New project alert! For his next film, Jim Sheridan is seizing upon a true story about the Maze Prison escape, which was known as the Great Escape when the story unfolded in Northern Ireland. The three-time Oscar-nominated writer-director has just cast Cillian Murphy (Dunkirk, Inception) and Fifty Shades star Jamie Dornan to lead the cast, with Pierce Brosnan in talks to also join H-Block.

The story is about an escape from the maximum-security prison that became a source of propaganda used by the IRA. Thirty-eight prisoners escaped from H-Block with only 19 recaptured. In the escape, one officer died of a heart attack after being stabbed (one of four injured that way). In all, 20 were injured including being stabbed or shot; one prison officer was shot in the head but survived. The escape was a violent breakout that included hostage taking and ended up being the biggest in both British and Irish history.

Murphy stars as the head of the ring of IRA prisoners who has earned the respect of the prison guards but now just wants a life of peace.The gritty role for Dornan is a decided turn from what the actor has been doing and gives him a chance to really let loose and show his acting chops as an IRA prisoner and orderly who starts discovering weaknesses in the prison. He also is one of the last IRA prisoners to agree to the escape — but leave he does and with a vengeance on the way out.The role for Brosnan would be a good one for him for the same reasons as he would play the antagonist — warden of the Maze Prison who is pitted against the escapees.