• The Daily Beast

    Deep Pockets

    NRA Pissed Off the Wrong Nerd Genius

    Billionaire Michael Bloomberg already had the gun lobby in his sights. Now Bill Gates is donating $1 million for universal background checks—and there’s more where that came from.

    Somewhere in a large glass tower in Northern Virginia, there’s a guy who runs guns with a French name having a bad day. With good reason.

    It was reported Monday that Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder and incredibly wealthy guy, and with his wife, Melinda, have given $1 million to Initiative 594 in Washington state. The ballot initiative, if passed by voters on November 4 (and it currently enjoys overwhelming support), will require universal background checks for all firearm purchases in the state.

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  • Ned Dishman/Getty

    Pathetic

    Women’s Sports Are Getting Less Airtime

    Thanks to Title IX, more American women are playing sports than ever before—so why is coverage of women’s sports actually declining?

    My son doesn’t think women can play sports. He’s five. Who taught him this?

    When I looked around to point the finger at the forces corrupting my child, I was surprised when my search led right back to us: We love to watch sports on TV. And on TV women athletes wear a cloak of invisibility.

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  • Getty

    Scare Tactics

    Duggar Mom Makes Transphobic Calls

    The “19 Kids and Counting” star and religious conservative is fear-mongering to block an ordinance that would allow transgendered individuals to use gender-specific bathrooms.

    Michelle Duggar, the proud mama on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting and prominent member of the Baptist church, is using her celebrity to foster transphobia.

    On Monday, Dugger narrated a robocall to local voters in Fayetteville, Arkansas protesting an anti-discrimination bill that would allow transgender individuals to use bathrooms and other gender-specific facilities as they feel comfortable.

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  • Nancy Palmieri/AP

    Kangaroo Courts

    Is UMass Biased Against Male Students?

    Two new lawsuits say the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is overzealous in its prosecution and punishment of male students in Title IX assault hearings.

    The University of Massachusetts at Amherst was one of the first of 55 institutes of higher education declared to be under investigation for Title IX violations over the way it handled sexual violence and assault. As a result, its ability to protect victims has been under intense scrutiny. However, two lawsuits against the university filed by male students who were expelled for misconduct—one for sexual, the other physical—alleged that the school struggles just as much to deliver justice for the accused. 

    Although the two complaints were filed completely separately—months apart by different lawyers—and both deal with different kinds of abuse charges, the school's alleged treatment of the accused students appears strikingly similar. Both lawsuits allege that the school violated Title IX in its dealings with male students. Both allege that UMass denied accused male students the right to present key testimony or ask essential questions at their disciplinary panels. Both tell stories of male students who were already presumed guilty by university administrators.

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  • Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

    ‘Teen Mom’ Effect?

    Unwed Women Are Having Fewer Babies

    Hear that, family values warriors? The upward trend in the birth rate for unmarried mothers has reversed—dropping 14 percent, according to a new CDC report.

    In recent years, the Internet has nearly buckled under the weight of think pieces dedicated to explaining the rise of the unmarried mother. And for good reason. The birth rate to unmarried mothers has, with a few pauses, steadily climbed since the 1940s.

    But as a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, the most recent upward trend, begun in 2002, seems to have reversed, in the steepest decline ever recorded, dropping 14 percent from its 2007 peak, to 44.8 per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15-44). The number of births to unwed mothers also dropped 7 percent, to approximately 1.6 million, from 2012 to 2013. Mostly women under 30 years old drove the declines. Hispanic and black women saw the biggest drops.

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  • Showtime/Magical Elves

    Sinners

    Mississippi Is Hell for These Lesbians

    What’s most shocking about Showtime’s chilling documentary ‘L Word Mississippi’ is that these lesbians see themselves—as the rest of the Bible Belt does—as sinners.

    From the opening scene, L Word Mississippi is on a mission to show that the relatively accepting and glamorous West Hollywood lesbian scene is not reality for most.

    “How is being a lesbian in Mississippi different from what you see on TV?”

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  • Mike Theiler/Reuters

    INEQUALITY

    Justice Ginsburg: Court Fails Women

    While embracing gay rights.

    While gay rights charge full-force ahead, women's equality is stagnant, if not backwards, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says. While the court is using language of "equal dignity" in recent rulings supporting same-sex couples, gender cases rarely get the same consideration of equality. The court has yet to embrace "the ability of women to decide for themselves what their destiny will be," she said in a law school speech last week.

    Read it at The New York Times
  • Giles Clarke/Getty

    Crisis at the border

    ‘We Cannot Return to Guatemala’

    Conservatives are blaming the immigration crisis on the president, but one mother who crossed the border says she’s never heard of Obama’s laws—she just wants to save her children.

    SAN DIEGO — “No podemos volver a Guatemala. We cannot return to Guatemala,” Elvina tells me. She’s just arrived at Border Angels, a local San Diego charity, with three of her four children. Her eldest son, an 18-year-old, is being held separately as an adult in a detention center. He may have already been deported back to Guatemala; Elvina has no way to find him or contact him.

    She tells me about the amenaza de muerte—the death threats—that keep her from wanting to return home.  “Los mareros”—the notorious MS-13 gang—“threatened us. They beat up my husband. They wanted my sons to join their gang.”

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  • Underwood Archives/Getty

    Feminism 3.0

    Whither the Women’s Movement?

    Despite massive gains in the 20th century, the women’s movement has reached a stalemate in the 21st. How to move forward?

    William Barnett, my paternal grandfather, came to America in 1910, and became a union organizer with the International Cap Makers Union.  Although William was enamored with his newly-found freedoms in America, and angered by the horrendous working conditions of his fellow laborers, my grandmother Lottie was not amused.  With four children living in a tenement on the Lower East Side in two tiny rooms, Lottie knew that the only way they could stay in their adopted country was to earn a paycheck.  And when William was eventually blacklisted due to his union involvement, the situation became desperate. 

    Lottie believed, as an Orthodox Jew, that the next thing that happened was divine intervention.  She found two $ 20 dollar bills in the communal washrooms, moved the family to Canada, and advised my grandfather that he was welcome to join only if he intended to stop organizing and get a real job.  Their children became doctors and businesswomen, but all were infused with a sense of justice for the millions who remained in the poverty that their family once knew.

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  • Thomas Tolstrup/Getty

    GENDER GAP

    Girls Love Science. We Tell Them Not To.

    A recent article argued that ‘biology and nature sway females away from science.’ Not so fast.

    How do we get more women involved in science? This is an important and complex topic, but to some, it seems like an unnecessary question. They point to equal treatment under law and policies against discrimination. The opportunities are there, it’s just up to women to take them!

    Or maybe they won’t, because as Mary Kenny recently wrote in The Telegraph, perhaps “females as a whole, are not hugely engaged by science.”

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  • Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (2nd L) holds her son Trig as she stands with her daughters Willow (L), Piper (R) and her husband Todd after her speech to the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, September 3, 2008. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

    MOTHER LOVE

    The New Right-Wing Idol: Working Moms

    In the bloody U.K. Cabinet shakeup, a female minister’s promotion came with the prefix ‘working mother.’ Why are conservatives on both sides of the pond keen to court this constituency?

    The blood on the floor is especially vivid in UK politics right now, spattered over the bodies of the dispatched “male, pale, and stale” ministers suddenly ejected from David Cameron’s Cabinet.

    In their place comes what Britain’s Conservative Party hopes will benefit its electoral chances: a slight increase in the number of female ministers, their promotions reported in glaringly sexist terms in today’s Daily Mail in terms of a fashion parade on the “Downing Street catwalk.” In those women’s shadows comes one of the emptiest, yet telling phrases attached to women in public life today: “working mother.” The prefix was immediately attached to Nicky Morgan, the newly appointed UK Education Secretary.

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  • Daniel Kramer/Reuters

    MASSACRE

    Blame Guns for Domestic Murder Epidemic

    The latest massacre of a family—this time in the Houston suburbs—is another brutal reminder that guns in the home leave a trail of devastation. Women and children must be protected.

    The details are still a little sketchy, but what is known so far is this: In north Harris County, in the Houston suburb of Spring, four children and two adults have been shot and killed (and a fifth child was injured) in a domestic dispute, in what would be just another massacre in the USA. Yet more of our children have been sacrificed to the right-wing Golden Calf known as the firearm, in what seems to be the largest slaughter of children since Newtown. 

    What do we know for sure? We know that from 2001 to 2012, more women in the U.S. were shot to death by an intimate partner than U.S. troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know that in states that have closed the gun-show loophole by passing universal background checks—which of course does not include Ted Cruz’s Texas—38% fewer women are killed by an intimate partner with a gun.

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  • Kena Betancur/Reuters

    Media Pioneer

    Jill Abramson Talks Secrecy and Firing

    Two months after her abrupt exit from the Gray Lady, the former executive editor delivered a speech about how different Obama is from Bush—and why she was dismissed from her post.

    Aside from her unceremonious firing, former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson is perhaps best known for her assertion that the Obama administration is the most secretive of any she has covered, and in 22 years in Washington, that covers a lot of White Houses. She got plenty of grief from President Obama’s top aides in the aftermath, and while other journalists made the same observation, Abramson’s words carried weight, coming as they did from the prestigious newspaper’s first female top editor.

    Two months after leaving the Times, in case anyone is wondering, she isn’t backing down from that assertion, but backing it up with concrete examples and inside anecdotes. “I have heard Obama officials say more than once, ‘You will have blood on your hands if you publish this story,’” she said in a speech Wednesday at the Chautauqua Institution describing her perspective as a key player in the midst of some of the biggest stories of our time pitting press freedom against national security.

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