Mark Ciavarella Jr, a 61-year old former judge in Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for literally selling young juveniles for cash. He was convicted of accepting money in exchange for incarcerating thousands of adults and children into a prison facility owned by a developer who was paying him under the table. The kickbacks amounted to more than $1 million.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned some 4,000 convictions issued by him between 2003 and 2008, claiming he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles – including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Some of the juveniles he sentenced were as young as 10-years old.
Ciavarella was convicted of 12 counts, including racketeering, money laundering, mail fraud and tax evasion. He was also ordered to repay $1.2 million in restitution.
His “kids for cash” program has revealed that corruption is indeed within the prison system, mostly driven by the growth in private prisons seeking profits by any means necessary.
Why might this not be a HUGE national story and his name not household? I’ll give you one guess what color those kids were.
what in the everloving fuck
What the fuck
Over at the Washington Post, a supremely out of touch article by conservative columnist George F. Will makes the infuriating claim that victims of sexual assault enjoy “a coveted status that confers privileges.” His logic suggests that because of a supposed liberal plot to bestow some sort of benefit on rape survivors “victims proliferate.”
Of all the tone-deaf rape-denying arguments we’ve heard, this one might take the cake.
So honored my hashtag took off! It just started as a way to vent about how college rape has changed my life forever (and not in a good way).
Because you know who’s an authority on surviving rape? An old white guy.
Fuck you, George Will.
abortion has been set up in its own special category by conservative male legislators in this country. I am forced to support corporate welfare, Creationist schools and immoral wars with my tax dollars. But for some reason my conservative neighbor doesn’t have to support abortion rights with his tax dollars. And if Hobby Lobby gets their way, my conservative neighbor will be able to pay any potential employees differently based on whether they use birth control.
That’s not justice. If this country wants to move in that direction, then perhaps progressives nationally should reorganize into a “religion.” Sounds like a pretty cool perk: organize politically without the pesky IRS, and enshrine a bunch of political beliefs into a discriminatory legal code. But somehow I don’t think the Supreme Court would go for that. “Religious freedom” only goes in one direction: whatever misogynistic conservative men want.
— Abortion rights are the law of the land. Hobby Lobby’s rejection of abortion rights as against their religious principles is no more valid a reason to deny an employee compensation than any other form of religious discrimination. The Constitution grants the owners of Hobby Lobby to exercise their own religion as they see fit. It doesn’t grant them the right to pay their employees unequally on the basis of their religious beliefs if we’ve passed a law stating that employees have a right to equal compensation (which is what the ACA essentially does.)
Grab a snorkel because today the Department of Awesomely Good Deeds is taking us under the waters of the Pacific Ocean in Garden Eel Cove just off the coat of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. It was there last January that Keller Laros was participating in a Manta ray night dive when an amazingly astute bottlenose dolphin approached him and lingered long enough for Laros to notice that the animal was injured and asking for help.
The dolphin had a fishing hook stuck in his left pectoral fin attached to a length of fishing line that was tangled around the fin and even caught in his mouth. Fortunately Laros had a pair of scissors in his diving kit, so he quickly set about freeing the dolphin, who stayed remarkably still considering how uncomfortable the process must’ve been. Fellow diver Martina Wing filmed the extraordinary interaction. Once freed from the nasty hook and fishing line, the thankful dolphin swam away, disappearing into the darkness with a crazy tale to tell his friends.
[via Twisted Sifter]
I laughed so hard no sound came out
"My body, my choice" only makes sense when someone else’s life isn’t at stake.
Fun fact: If my younger sister was in a car accident and desperately needed a blood transfusion to live, and I was the only person on Earth who could donate blood to save her, and even though donating blood is a relatively easy, safe, and quick procedure no one can force me to give blood. Yes, even to save the life of a fully grown person, it would be ILLEGAL to FORCE me to donate blood if I didn’t want to.
See, we have this concept called “bodily autonomy.” It’s this….cultural notion that a person’s control over their own body is above all important and must not be infringed upon.
Like, we can’t even take LIFE SAVING organs from CORPSES unless the person whose corpse it is gave consent before their death. Even corpses get bodily autonomy.
To tell people that they MUST sacrifice their bodily autonomy for 9 months against their will in an incredibly expensive, invasive, difficult process to save what YOU view as another human life (a debatable claim in the early stages of pregnancy when the VAST majority of abortions are performed) is desperately unethical. You can’t even ask people to sacrifice bodily autonomy to give up organs they aren’t using anymore after they have died.
You’re asking people who can become pregnant to accept less bodily autonomy than we grant to dead bodies.
reblogging for commentary
But, assuming the mother wasn’t raped, the choice to HAVE a baby and risk sacrificing their “bodily autonomy” is a choice that the mother made. YOu don’t have to have sex with someone. Cases of rape aside, it isn’t ethical to say abortion is justified. The unborn baby has rights, too.
First point: Bodily autonomy can be preserved, even if another life is dependent on it. See again the example about the blood donation.
And here’s another point: When you say that “rape is the exception” you betray something FUNDAMENTALLY BROKEN about your own argument.
Because a fetus produced from sexual assault is biologically NO DIFFERENT than a fetus produced from consensual sex. No difference at all.
If one is alive, so is the other. If one is a person, so is the other. If one has a soul, then so does the other. If one is a little blessing that happened for a reason and must be protected, then so is the other.
When you say that “Rape is the exception” what you betray is this: It isn’t about a life. This isn’t about the little soul sitting inside some person’s womb, because if it was you wouldn’t care about HOW it got there, only that it is a little life that needs protecting.
When you say “rape is the exception” what you say is this: You are treating pregnancy as a punishment. You are PUNISHING people who have had CONSENSUAL SEX but don’t want to go through a pregnancy. People who DARED to have consensual sex without the goal of procreation in mind, and this is their “consequence.”
And that is gross.
This has been added to since I last saw it, so reblogging again.
Busted wide open.
Facebook has a policy against breastfeeding photos on their site. However, they are totally cool with gun owners selling guns without background checks to anyone who wants to make a deal. Facebook also recently launched the Look Back video feature, which many of you may have seen. So an organization made an amazing little Look Back video about how the gun market works on the world’s largest social media network. Let’s help Facebook get their priorities in check.