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Why are we sending so many women to prison?

The “evolution” behind Obama’s views on same-sex marriage.

Taking a critical eye to the leadership in LGBT organizations.

WTF of the week: many young girls think that sexual assault is the norm.

Dear political media: please be way less wrong about Hillary Clinton’s future grandchild

Women are still underrepresented and underappreciated in the media start-up world, but they’re founding their own digital media companies.

New study shows that half of all teens behind bars in NYC have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Adrianne Wadewitz, one of Wikipedia’s most prolific and influential editors, has died.

The secret anti-abortion law that’s sweeping America.

Navigating the public school system with a disabled child.

Today is the 15th anniversary of the Columbine shootings.

Beyond Benetton ads: what does “diversity” really mean at colleges?

The faces behind America’s food stamp program.

American University frat emails exposes rape culture.

San Francisco’s housing crisis, explained.

In Mongolia, introducing young women into the art of the eagle hunting tradition.

The 10th anniversary of Mean Girls.

Sia: the life behind our favorite pop songs.

A debate on Twitter has led the University of Michigan to increase black enrollment.

“They don’t care if we freeze”: how New York’s billionaires are destroying the affordable housing market.

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Shameless Self-Promotion Sunday

Promote yourself.

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Last week, the New York Times provided a breakdown of a breakdown — an accounting of the investigative errors that turned rape allegations against FSU quarterback Jameis Winston into a non-event.

I’ll give you a minute to try and contain your shock.

Indeed, how convenient it was that Winston was able to make it a year and a Heisman season before the allegations gained any attention. Long enough for him to become a local sports hero and her to become a bitter woman with buyer’s remorse who only decided to take him down after he became someone — the fact that she raised the allegations immediately after the offense notwithstanding. Notwithstanding that when she went to the police the morning she was raped, the officer suggested that maybe it wasn’t actually rape and that filing a report would be “awkward” for her as a “female.”

It’s gratifying (to the extent that anything about these situations can be gratifying) that faulty investigative non-efforts of the type that plague so many rape cases — not just ones involving celebrities — are getting national attention. What’s lousy is that that attention is still happening in the context of the shadows thrown over this woman’s allegations. No matter how many people and institutions point out how utterly ruined this case has been because authorities screwed it up over and over and over, it’s still a girl who came forward a year later because she had a grudge against poor Jameis Winston.

Most of us here, of course, know why the Jameis Winston case — and particularly the astonishing mishandling thereof — is relevant. It’s not just because it’s a sports star, and it’s not just because it’s college — the Steubenville rape case demonstrates that rape negligence and apologism starts early. It’s relevant because at any age, in any circumstance, the way rape accusations are addressed by authorities influences the way women look at themselves, at the offenses committed against them, and at the way they deserve to be treated.

At Every Day Should Be Saturday, Jane lays out a list of reasons that the Jameis Winston case — and every other case like it — remains relevant to sports fans, to students, to college administrators, and to anyone who cares whether women are safe and crimes go punished.

Because, for some reason, sexual assault is treated at universities and colleges like mine and probably yours in a manner that doesn’t serve victims or those accused.

Because young women* think sexual assault is “normal” and we blame the victims of sexual assault because what were they wearing? What were they doing? What made them think they could wear that or say that or be like that or be there without something bad happening to them? You know women just want to fuck Division 1 football players for the fame/money/because they are sad pathetic whores and women lie about rape all the time so it’s probably her fault anyway.* *

Because college football is fucking awesome, and your college football team is the fucking awesomest, and when an investigation like this happens and it’s your team, you feel sick inside, and sometimes you hope that it’s all some weird misunderstanding because this couldn’t happen at Michigan or Florida State or your favorite school, right?

Because this didn’t happen, and in cases like this, seems to never happen:

“It makes the most sense to me, if somebody comes in to report a violent crime, investigate it, and we’ll talk about what to do with it after we’ve collected the evidence and have the most thorough picture,” she said.

Because sexual assault is a crime, and should be treated as such by all parties, even if it involves football and the media and the batshit insanity that is sports. And when it’s not, when it’s made into either a means of silencing victims or hounding the innocent, that’s a goddamn shame, and we should report on it and talk about it until it stops fucking happening.

By Susan Katz Miller

We celebrated Easter last year with our community of Christian and Jewish interfaith families. Our minister started off by pointing out that Easter is not in the Bible, and that our holiday traditions make reference to ancient goddesses, and the fertility rites of spring. She then gathered the children together and talked to them about the Buddhist metaphor of a cup of tea representing the comforting memories of life after the tea bag (or body) is gone. She’s not your typical minister.

Next, our rabbi gave an adult sermon about the themes of intimacy, transcendence and unity in the story of the resurrection of Jesus. Somehow, the idea of life beyond death, of renewal and regeneration, seemed completely universal to me as he spoke. As a Jew, I do not feel I need to believe in a messiah or a personal savior in order to celebrate these Easter messages. Our rabbi spent his career at Georgetown, knows his gospels, and has been called a “closet Catholic” by Catholic friends. And yet, he’s an erudite, dedicated and deeply spiritual Jew. He’s not your typical rabbi.

In addition to the Lord of the Dance and older traditional Easter hymns, we sang Bob Marley’s One Love. Then, we had a pancake breakfast that included matzoh brie (matzoh fried in eggs) for those of us who aren’t eating leavening until the end of Passover. This type of radical culinary inclusion is the norm in an interfaith families community. And it is part of what makes this community so comfortable, and so precious, for me.

After our Easter morning with Christians and Jews, I made a quick change out of my pastel dress and Easter bonnet and into a bold print Senegalese outfit, in order to join a community of Catholics and Muslims for our second Easter event of the day, a gathering of the local Catholic Senegalese association. We had the great fortune to be invited to this event by two Senegalese-American friends, one Catholic and one Muslim, who are cousins from an interfaith family, and who know that my husband and I crave Senegalese food and company ever since our years in Dakar. Intermarriage between Muslims and Catholics is not uncommon in Senegal. In fact, both of the Muslim Presidents of Senegal I interviewed as a journalist (Abdou Diouf and Abdoulaye Wade) had Catholic wives.

What struck me at this Easter feast, and touched me deeply, was the way the Catholics made sure to accommodate the dietary restrictions of Muslim family members and friends. All of the main dishes featured mutton or chicken, rather than ham, and the one dish with pork in it was carefully labelled. Our Muslim friend reminded us how people of all religions in Senegal share another local culinary tradition on Good Friday: ngalax, a dessert made from peanut butter, vanilla, sugar, and the fruit of the baobab tree, served with raisins over millet couscous. Typically, Catholics make the dish on Good Friday and deliver it to neighbors, friends and family of all religions, just as Muslims in Senegal share the mutton from the Tabaski (or Eid al-Adha) feast with neighbors of all religions.

I often use the Passover dish of charoset as a metaphor for my interfaith family: a mix of nuts, fruits, spices and wine, with flavors melding over time. Now I have a sweet new metaphor: the nuts and fruits and grain of ngalax bonding interfaith families, neighborhoods, and countries.

Note: This post originally appeared on Susan Katz Miller's blog,


courtesy Stephanie WilliamsSusan Katz Miller is the author of Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family. A former Newsweek reporter and former US correspondent for New Scientist, her writing has also appeared in the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Conde Nast Traveler, Moment, and other publications. She blogs on interfaith families for Huffington Post and She lives in the Washington, DC, area with her husband and two interfaith teenagers.

Weekly Open Thread with Pony and Foal

Can you handle the cute? There’s more animals with their babies at this tumblr. Please natter/chatter/vent/rant on anything* you like over this weekend and throughout the week.

a caramel coloured pony with a pale mane is chewing grass while her foal drapes itself over her neck, its hooves dangling adorably

Can you handle the cute? | via

Apologies for the belatedness, the gorgeous sun today in Sydney after several weeks of rain was too much, and I went out and left my computer forlorn for most of the day. So, what have you been up to? What would you rather be up to? What’s been awesome/awful?
Reading? Watching? Making? Meeting?
What has [insert awesome inspiration/fave fansquee/guilty pleasure/dastardly ne'er-do-well/threat to all civilised life on the planet du jour] been up to?

* Netiquette footnotes:
* There is no off-topic on the Weekly Open Thread, but consider whether your comment would be on-topic on any recent thread and thus better belongs there.
* If your comment touches on topics known to generally result in thread-jacking, you will be expected to take the discussion to #spillover instead of overshadowing the social/circuit-breaking aspects of this thread.

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