Abortion Restrictions in Ohio Hurt Women’s Health, Study Finds

Abortion restrictions implemented in Ohio in 2011 under the guise of protecting women’s health led to more side-effects and follow-up visits for patients, according to a new study out of the University of California, San Francisco. The 2011 Ohio law makes sense on paper: it requires abortion providers to prescribe the abortion medication mifepristone…

Image: New York Times

via Abortion Restrictions in Ohio Hurt Women’s Health, Study Finds 

Posted by Libergirl

Republicans’ “voter fraud” false flag: Voter ID laws offer imaginary solutions to imaginary problems

At the risk of employing an overused quote, the 20th Century’s most notorious propagandist, Joseph Goebbels, famously said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.” There are innumerable modern examples of the efficacy of this strategy, repeating a lie, but few are as obvious as the push for voter ID laws as a means of thwarting alleged “voter fraud.”

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Posted by the NON-Conformist

Colin Kaepernick Is Righter Than You Know: The National Anthem Is a Celebration of Slavery

BEFORE A PRESEASON GAME on Friday, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” When he explained why, he only spoke about the present: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. … There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Twitter then went predictably nuts, with at least one 49ers fan burning Kaepernick’s jersey.

Almost no one seems to be aware that even if the U.S. were a perfect country today, it would be bizarre to expect African-American players to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Why? Because it literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans.

Few people know this because we only ever sing the first verse. But read the end of the third verse and you’ll see why “The Star-Spangled Banner” is not just a musical atrocity, it’s an intellectual and moral one, too:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

“The Star-Spangled Banner,” Americans hazily remember, was written by Francis Scott Key about the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812. But we don’t ever talk about how the War of 1812 was a war of aggression that began with an attempt by the U.S. to grab Canada from the British Empire.

However, we’d wildly overestimated the strength of the U.S. military. By the time of the Battle of Fort McHenry in 1814, the British had counterattacked and overrun Washington, D.C., setting fire to the White House.

And one of the key tactics behind the British military’s success was its active recruitment of American slaves. As a detailed 2014 article in Harper’s explains, the orders given to the Royal Navy’s Admiral Sir George Cockburn read:

Let the landings you make be more for the protection of the desertion of the Black Population than with a view to any other advantage. … The great point to be attained is the cordial Support of the Black population. With them properly armed & backed with 20,000 British Troops, Mr. Madison will be hurled from his throne.

Whole families found their way to the ships of the British, who accepted everyone and pledged no one would be given back to their “owners.” Adult men were trained to create a regiment called the Colonial Marines, who participated in many of the most important battles, including the August 1814 raid on Washington.

Then on the night of September 13, 1814, the British bombarded Fort McHenry. Key, seeing the fort’s flag the next morning, was inspired to write the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

So when Key penned “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,” he was taking great satisfaction in the death of slaves who’d freed themselves. His perspective may have been affected by the fact he owned several slaves himself.

With that in mind, think again about the next two lines: “And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

The reality is that there were human beings fighting for freedom with incredible bravery during the War of 1812. However, “The Star-Spangled Banner” glorifies America’s “triumph” over them — and then turns that reality completely upside down, transforming their killers into the courageous freedom fighters.

After the U.S. and the British signed a peace treaty at the end of 1814, the U.S. government demanded the return of American “property,” which by that point numbered about 6,000 people. The British refused. Most of the 6,000 eventually settled in Canada, with some going to Trinidad, where their descendants are still known as “Merikins.”

Furthermore, if those leading the backlash against Kaepernick need more inspiration, they can get it from Francis Scott Key’s later life.

By 1833, Key was a district attorney for Washington, D.C. As described in a book called Snowstorm in August by former Washington Post reporter Jefferson Morley, the police were notorious thieves, frequently stealing free blacks’ possessions with impunity. One night, one of the constables tried to attack a woman who escaped and ran away — until she fell off a bridge across the Potomac and drowned.

“There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district,” an abolitionist paper wrote. “No fuss or stir was made about it. She was got out of the river, and was buried, and there the matter ended.”

Key was furious and indicted the newspaper for intending “to injure, oppress, aggrieve & vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates & constables of Washington County.”

You can decide for yourself whether there’s some connection between what happened 200 years ago and what Colin Kaepernick is angry about today. Maybe it’s all ancient, meaningless history. Or maybe it’s not, and Kaepernick is right, and we really need a new national anthem.

By Jon Schwarz/Theintercept

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Kobe Bryant Launches $100M Venture Capital Fund – How Will Black Entrepreneurs Factor In?

Jeff Stibel and Kobe Bryant launch new venture fund capital Bryant Stibel (NYSE Twitter)
Image: NYSE Twitter

Kobe Bryant unveiled his post-retirement game plan today with a new self-funded venture capital firm. Jeff Stibel — formerly of Web.com — co-manages Bryant Stibel with the ex-baller. It marks the duo’s first official investment teaming.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the $100 million fund will invest in the tech, media and data areas.

Since 2013, Bryant and Stibel have informally funded 15 companies.

Now with Bryant Stibel, the group is currently invested in 13 companies, such as The Players Tribune and LegalZoom. The Los Angeles, California-based firm is not looking for outside investments.

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Posted by The NON-Conformist

Orlando club shooting: Survivors’ medical bills waived

Hospitals in the US city of Orlando say they will not charge for treatment provided to survivors of the Pulse nightclub massacre in which 49 people were killed by a gunman in June.

They say they will write off about $5.5m in medical care expenses.

After the attack by Omar Mateen on 12 June, 53 people needed immediate medical attention.

More from BBC News

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First ‘Birth Of A Nation’ Screening Cancelled

Nate Parker, the director, star and producer of "The Birth of a Nation," poses at the premiere of the film at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Image: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

A screening of “The Birth of a Nation” and a Q&A with writer-director-star Nate Parker that was supposed to take place at the American Film Institute’s Conservatory on Friday has been postponed because of concerns that have been raised about the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It’s the first event involving Parker that’s been called off since he became the center of controversy for his comments about a resurfaced rape trial he faced while attending Penn State in 1999.

His film about Nat Turner’s slave uprising had been set to screen at the LA-based film school’s “Opening Day,” a special screening for second-year fellows (as the students are called) that traditionally takes place at the end of the first week of the new semester. The screening is usually reserved for an upcoming, high-profile release and is accompanied by a guest who worked on the film.

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The North Carolina GOP effort to suppress the African-American vote continues

An extraordinary thing happened three weeks ago when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit threw out most of the massive voter suppression law passed by the General Assembly in 2013 and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory.

Image: Charlie Neibergall, AP

The court found that legislative leaders asked for data broken down by race about how people vote and then as the court put it, with “surgical precision” changed the voting methods used disproportionately by African-Americans.

The motives could not have been clearer.

The General Assembly leadership created a photo ID requirement, ended same day registration at early voting sites, ended pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds, and shortened early voting by a week—all to make it less likely that African-Americans would vote.

Voting rights advocates understandably celebrated the decision to invalidate much of the law as a landmark victory and it was. And it came after similar rulings in other parts of the country.  The tide on voter suppression was turning back toward democracy.

But now something else extraordinary is happening across North Carolina. The Republican majorities on local boards of elections are doing their best to thwart the court’s ruling and follow the lead of the General Assembly.

Each county board determines the times that early voting sites are open and where the early voting sites are located.  And many of the boards are now refusing to locate sites in African-American neighborhoods or on college campuses.

More from NC Policy Watch

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