In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

This hasn't gotten a whole lot of attention this primary cycle, but their views on biomedical research constitute a significant difference between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders: "While serving in the House, Sanders voted to ban therapeutic cloning in 2001, 2003, and 2005 as Congress grappled with the ethics of biotechnology and scientific advances. Patient advocacy groups note that Sanders co-sponsored bans in 2003 and 2005 that included criminal penalties for conducting the research and opposed alternatives that would have allowed the cloning of embryos solely for medical research. Clinton, meanwhile, co-sponsored legislation in 2001 and 2002 in the Senate that would have expanded stem cell research and co-sponsored a bill in 2005 that would have banned human cloning while protecting the right of scientists to conduct stem cell research. ...'Sanders and (then Republican House Majority Leader Tom) DeLay—some unlikely group—were just unyielding and they were part of the religious right's attempt to shut down this whole critical new frontier of therapy for chronic disease,' said Robert Klein, chairman of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. 'It's fine to say you're for stem cell research but you vote against it and you vote against all therapeutic application, it doesn't mean anything to say you're for it,' Klein said. 'Fine, he votes for it years later when it's more popular and the pressure is off. We needed leadership then.'" Welp.

In other election news, I've got a new piece, co-written with Peter Daou, at Blue Nation Review about how Team Sanders admits that their line of attack on Hillary Clinton is indeed a "personal attack," despite the fact that he promised not to run a negative campaign and still insists that he isn't: "Over and over again, from calling Hillary emblematic of 'the establishment,' to inextricably tying her to 'Wall Street' by making allusions to her privately earned speaking fees, to fomenting conspiracy theories about how the Democratic Party is rigging the primary for Hillary—repeatedly hammering talking points that connect her to the institutions Bernie criticizes as the raison d’ĂȘtre for his calls for revolution—Bernie's campaign and surrogates have implicated Hillary as corrupt."

[Content Note: Gendered violence] Meanwhile, Trump can't even say immediately and with conviction that men shouldn't physically harm women. There is literally no bar low enough for this guy that he can easily step over it.

[CN: War on agency] And by way of perfect example that he's not an outlier in his party in this regard: "When GOP frontrunner Donald Trump said there should be 'some form of punishment' for women who end a pregnancy earlier this week, criticisms came flying from the left and, most tellingly, from the right. ...As Trump backtracked, presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich also rejected the idea. 'I don't think that's an appropriate response and it's a difficult enough situation than to try to punish somebody…abortions shouldn't be punished,' he said. Yet on Sunday morning Kasich told ABC's This Week that it is up to the states to decide on punishment. Regardless of his beliefs, that stance creates an opportunity for states to create laws that punish doctors or women as they see fit. 'We're going to leave this up to the states to work this out the way they want to,' said Kasich. George Stephanopoulos pleaded for him to provide more details, including on whether he'd support punishments for doctors. Kasich refused to answer. 'Today, I'm not. I've just told you how I feel about it,' Kasich said, eager to cut off the discussion."

[CN: Accident; death; injury] Yesterday, an Amtrak train on the Northeast Corridor route struck a backhoe that was sitting on the track just outside Philadelphia, killing two people and injuring dozens more. There is, so far, no explanation as to why the backhoe was sitting on the tracks. "Clearly this seems very likely to be human error," U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said. "There is virtually no excuse for a backhoe to be on an active track."

[CN: Rape culture] Kesha disclosed yesterday that she had been offered freedom from her contract, but only if she lied about what Dr. Luke did to her: "I got offered my freedom IF i were to lie. I would have to APOLOGIZE publicly and say that I never got raped. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS behind closed doors. I will not take back the TRUTH. I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again." Naturally, Dr. Luke's spokesperson released a disgusting statement smearing Kesha in return. Fucking hell.

Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown has signed legislation that will raise California's mandatory minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022. I still think that a truly livable (rather than minimum) wage based on local data is better, because there will be some places in California where $15 isn't enough, and where $15 might drive small businesses (including lots of small businesses owned by minorities and/or women) out of business. But that said, this is far better than nothing.

But the jury is still out on climate change: "Snow falls in [the southern Caribbean island] Guadeloupe in extraordinary weather phenomenon: The event, which was described as 'exceptional' by a French meteorologist took place on Thursday, March 31 in the municipality of St. Claude. Reports from French media indicate that a very fine snowfall blanketed the hills above the town."

Yowza! "Scientists have found a rare three-star system 685 light years away. Instead of the more typical single star, or even a pair, it boasts a trio of suns that coexist in a complex dance. And the system is rare even among the triple-threat crowd: It hosts a stable planet, which is something scientists have seen only three times before." So cool.

And finally! Did you know that "Keyboard Cat" Bento was a shelter rescue? Well, he is! And his adopter Charlie says: "Bento is my best friend." Aww. ♥

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