By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd | Sourced from AlterNet
Posted at March 19, 2012, 10:30 am
Think the war on women is a relatively new development with the rise of the radical right? Think again. A new report released by the National Women’s Law Center shows how nefarious gender discrimination has been subtly embedded into our health care costs, to the tune of over $1 billion more than what males pay. Not only that, but important care specific to women’s bodies (but clearly not specifically to women’s concerns), such as maternity coverage, is specifically left out of many health care plans. Raw Story:
Through the practice of gender rating, or charging women more for the same coverage, women are paying a $1 billion more than their male counterparts. States that haven’t banned gender rating have seen women charged more for 92 percent of best-selling health plans.
In most states, non-smoking women are commonly charged more than even smoking men. And even with maternity coverage excluded, nearly a third of plans analyzed found that 25 and 40-year-old women were charged at least 30 percent more or even higher than men for the same coverage.
Despite being aware of those practices, insurance companies have no taken steps to stop the inequality until the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014.
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/17/john-demjanjuk-dead-dies_n_1355316.html
BERLIN — John Demjanjuk was convicted of being a low-ranking guard at the Sobibor death camp, but his 35-year fight on three continents to clear his name – a legal battle that had not yet ended when he died Saturday at age 91 – made him one of the best-known faces of Nazi prosecutions.
The conviction of the retired Ohio autoworker in a Munich court in May on 28,060 counts of being an accessory to murder, which was still being appealed, broke new legal ground in Germany as the first time someone was convicted solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard, with no evidence of involvement in a specific killing.
It has opened the floodgates to hundreds of new investigations in Germany, though his death serves as a reminder that time is running out for prosecutors.
Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk steadfastly maintained that he had been mistaken for someone else – first wounded as a Soviet soldier fighting German forces, then captured and held as a prisoner of war under brutal conditions.
And he is probably best known as someone he was not: the notoriously brutal guard “Ivan the Terrible” at the Treblinka extermination camp. That was the first accusation against him, which led to him being extradited from the U.S. to Israel in the 1980s. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death – only to have the Israeli Supreme Court unanimously overturn the verdict and return him to the U.S. after it received evidence that another Ukrainian, not Demjanjuk, was that Nazi guard.
“He has become at least one of the faces” of the Holocaust, Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/17/john-demjanjuk-dead-dies_n_1355316.html
From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/18/iraq-massacre-emos-killing-gay
Hassan – it’s not his real name – had a heavy metal band with two other twentysomethings. The raucous music represented rebellion, and in Iraq there was plenty to rebel against: occupation, poverty, patriarchal families – ample impetus to anger. The band made an album, but nobody would touch it; their songs and their look, people said, were satanic. Hassan uploaded a video to YouTube, and included the band members’ names. Five days ago, the other two musicians were killed on the street. Hassan is in hiding; he’s almost too terrified to speak. “Why are they doing this to us?” he asked me. “Why?”
A new killing campaign is convulsing Iraq. The express targets are “emos”, short for “emotional”: a western-derived identity, teenagers adopting a pose of vulnerability, along with tight clothes and skewed hairdos and body piercing. Starting last year, mosques and the media both began raising the alarm about youthful immorality, calling the emos deviants and devil worshippers. In early February, somebody began killing people. The net was wide, definitions inexact. Men who seemed effeminate, girls with tattoos or peculiar jewellery, boys with long hair, could all be swept up. The killers like to smash their victims’ heads with concrete blocks.
There is no way to tell how many have died: estimates range from a few dozen to more than 100. Nor is it clear who is responsible. Many of the killings happened in east Baghdad, stronghold of Shia militias such as Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army and Asaib Ahl al-Haq (the League of the Righteous). Neither, though, has claimed responsibility. Iraq’s brutal interior ministry issued two statements in February. The first announced official approval to “eliminate” the “satanists”. The second, on 29 February, proclaimed a “campaign” to start with a crackdown on stores selling emo fashion. The loaded language suggests, at a minimum, that the ministry incited violence. It’s highly possible that some police, in a force riddled with militia members, participated in the murders.
Continue reading at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/18/iraq-massacre-emos-killing-gay
A long-term trend toward smaller houses is well underway — with huge implications for the future of our cities.
By Sara Robinson
March 16, 2012
Very Tiny Houses may be the new American homeowner porn.
I know I’m far from the only one who looks at pictures like this one and thinks wistfully about all the stuff I’d get rid of if I had such a place. I could prune my closet to nothing. Cull out the excess kitchen stuff, and winnow things down to a few pots and place settings. Consolidate all my books, movies and electronic toys onto a single iPad. And my Saturdays would be my own: I could clean the whole place in half an hour flat.
And if we did this, how simple life would be! How much more time I would have for stuff that mattered! And think of the money we could save on mortgages, taxes, utilities, and upkeep!
Of course, the vast majority of us will never actually go all the way to this extreme. (My geek husband’s bank of computers alone would overwhelm every inch of this lovely little space with a nova-like explosion of screens and wires; we’d have to sleep on the roof.) But, according to a growing mountain of data from the building and real estate industries, Americans are in fact backing away slowly from the sprawling McMansions of the 1990s, and increasingly tucking ourselves into cozier quarters.
Intriguingly: professionals in the building industry are saying that this move may be a long-term shift that’s reflecting a deep sea-change in American values and attitudes about what makes a place a home.
In a 2009 article in USA Today interior designer Christine Brun sums up the emerging ethic: “You’re almost unpatriotic to live so large.” She points out that baby boomers are downsizing their now-empty nests; and younger adults “don’t care if they live in 500 square feet. They just want cool stuff.” Add in growing awareness of our environmental footprint and a crashing economy, and you’ve got a perfect storm that’s moving Americans back toward the kind of smaller digs we lived in in the days of Ward and June Cleaver.