On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill 61 to 37 to require the U.S. Military to take control of all suspected terrorist arrested overseas and now, in the United States. The bill also allows the Military to hold detainees in Military custody indefinitely, and without the guarantee of a trial.
Now I know that Guantanamo Bay concerns dramatically died down a few years ago, but this new bill definitely raises some worries. First, yes, we are at war and the treatment of suspected terrorists is murkier. However, there remain clear international laws , including but not limited to the Geneva Conventions on the Treatment of Prisoners, that stipulate how a prisoner is meant to be treated. Does the United States have the right to hold suspects for an unlimited amount of time and without a trial? My guess is that many lawyers and human rights activists would argue that these rules are inhumane and illegal. I would argue that treating suspects this way in the United States could elicit similar treatment overseas of American prisoners, and the U.S. would not longer have an argument about reciprocal treatment on its side. Continue reading
As a follow-up story to an earlier post on HPV, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has finally officially recommended that both girls and boys be vaccinated against HPV.
The new recommendation will likely be met with significant controversy, as is par for the course, because many of the cancers that met become afflicted with due to the HPV virus, are more common among homosexual men. This fact will likely dissuade Republican politicians further against the vaccine, which they already do not endorse. The recommendation, however, may be in response to the recent findings that cases of throat and mouth cancers due to HPV will likely surpass cases of genital cancer by 2020 – suggesting that women and men are contracting the virus through oral sexual activity. Continue reading
If you haven’t yet heard about the Keystone XL Pipeline currently under consideration by the U.S. Government, here’s a quick overview.
Canada’s tar sands are 54,826 square miles of mineral-filled sands, including a high density of a naturally occurring form of petroleum. These tar sands are the second biggest source of crude oil IN THE WORLD after Saudi Arabia (!). The U.S. government is currently considering permitting the development of a pipeline called the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would transport Canadian oil from the tar sands to American refineries on the Gulf Coast, primarily for export. Not only will the development of this pipeline disrupt countless eco-systems and indigenous communities in the region of the tar sands in Canada, but it will also increase the risk for severe oil spills on American territory and will endanger communities in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas. Above all, to produce just one barrel of crude oil from the tar sands requires between TWO and FOUR barrels of oil. NASA’s top scientist has said that the implementation of this Pipeline would mean “essentially game over” for the climate. That $6 billion investment could do so many better things than solidifying our dependence on fossil fuels. Continue reading
Ben and Jerry’s became the first corporation to officially endorse the nascent Occupy Wall Street movement. Republicans still refuse to confirm the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau created in response to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and Elizabeth Warren, who would have headed that Bureau had it not been for the unreasonable obstinacy of bought politicians, has just raised 3.15 Million dollars in her Senate campaign for Massachusetts. Continue reading
A devastating report published by the U.N. on Monday shows widespread torture methods have been used by the Afghan intelligence service against detainees held in camps in the war-torn country. The report highlights that methods including beatings, twisting of genitals, and hanging people by their hands have been used to gain information from prisoners in the country. According to the New York Times, the information, released in draft form several months ago, was apparently discouraging enough to convince NATO to stop sending terrorist suspects to Afghan intelligence. The report raises many questions about the proper response to torture claims, as well as questions about whether the United States pulling out of Afghanistan is the proper move. Continue reading
Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday in recognition of her work promoting the rights and safety of women. Sirleaf, standing as the first woman president to be democratically elected in Africa, took office in 2005 following a 14-year civil war. The Washington Post credits Sirleaf with alleviating 5 billion dollars of international debt, improving access to education and healthcare, and fostering peace within a wounded political environment. Continue reading
On Monday, researchers reported findings that suggest that throat cancer cases have increased dramatically in the United States over the last 5-10 years. The study suggests that many of the new cases of throat cancer have developed because of HPV virus transmission during oral sex. Though noted for its risk of causing cervical cancers, HPV is often overlooked for its chances of causing throat and tonsil cancers. But the studies released Monday, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggest that at the rate the virus is developing now, cases of throat cancer will surpass cases of cervical cancer caused by HPV by 2020. Continue reading