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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Journal Archives

Prison Debate Team Beats Harvard Debate Team in National Competition

Three members of the Harvard University debate team competed against three inmates who were convicted of violent crimes. The inmates won the debate, proof that prison isn’t always the end of the line for some people.

The inmates, who are held at the Eastern New York Correctional Facility in the Catskills, are part of the Bard Prison Initiative, which offers higher learning to inmates. The three men are serving prison terms for manslaughter.

Inmates are prohibited from using the internet for research in preparation for such debates, and the Harvard team was stunned by how well-prepared the inmate team was. Judge Mary Nugent took special note of the inmate team’s performance. She said it might seem tempting to favor the prisoners’ team, but the three judges have to justify their votes to each other based on specific rules and standards. “We’re all human,” Nugent said. “I don’t think we can ever judge devoid of context or where we are, but the idea they would win out of sympathy is playing into pretty misguided ideas about inmates. Their academic ability is impressive.”

The prison team had its first debate in spring 2014, beating the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Then, it won against a nationally ranked team from the University of Vermont, and in April lost a rematch against West Point.

Doctors Without Borders Says It Is Leaving Kunduz After Strike on Hospital

KABUL, Afghanistan — Doctors Without Borders said Sunday that it was withdrawing from Kunduz, a day after its hospital there was hit by what appeared to be an American airstrike, leaving the remaining residents in the embattled northern Afghan city even more vulnerable.

The aid organization also raised the death toll in Saturday’s airstrike on the hospital, saying that three more patients had died, raising the total fatalities to 22 — 10 patients and 12 staff members. The charity has said that at least three of the dead patients were children, and that 37 people were wounded in the attack.

“No medical activities are possible now in the M.S.F. hospital in Kunduz, at a time when the medical needs are immense,” said Tim Shenk, a spokesman for the organization in New York.

The charity, known internationally as Médecins Sans Frontières, or M.S.F., called on its Twitter feed for an independent investigation, “under the clear presumption that a war crime has been committed.”



Seizure-Plagued Grantville Woman’s Health Dramatically Improves With CBD

Stacy Wilson has suffered from severe seizures since she was 4 years old.

All those years of tonic-clonic (formerly known as “grand mal”) seizures have taken their toll on the 45-year-old Grantville resident’s body. She now has chronic arthritis in her shoulders, and disc problems in her back.

“I’ve beat my body to death over the years,” Wilson said. When she has a seizure, there is normally no warning, and she often falls into furniture.

She wears a medical alert button around her neck. “Since I fell and broke my teeth, and I had a couple of seizures where I quit breathing, my husband decided that since I’m by myself, I need it. I’ve had to use it twice.”

The seizures have also taken a toll on her brain. “I’m really bad about repeating myself – I’ll tell you the same story 50 times,” she said. “I’m very forgetful.”

Last year, Wilson got involved in the push to make cannabidiol, a component of marijuana, legal for those with seizure disorders and other illnesses. While THC is the component of marijuana that is responsible for the high, cannabidiol, or CBD, has been found to have numerous medical benefits.



Toons- Numb Yet?

Mike Luckovich Toon

Feel The Bern

Sunday's Doonesbury- T-man Quotes

Toon: The Latest From the Space Program

Sen. Manchin Destroys Republicans for Underfunding VA by $850 Million

James Woods |

Yesterday, members of the Senate approved the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill (MilCon-VA). The main focus of the bill was originally intended to give a much needed boost to care for veterans. But like most legislation that makes its way through the house, the MilCon-VA bill in it’s current form will cost taxpayers more while providing $857 million less for veterans benefits and programs.

Opponents of the bill were vocal in their disgust for the GOP majority and their continued efforts to underfund VA programs. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) addressed the house just before the vote to explain the shortfalls of the proposed bill.

“We made a sacred commitment to our veterans when we sent them to war that we would do whatever it takes it take care of them when they returned, this bill does nothing to address that promise. Disappointingly, this bill takes an ax to needed funding for the VA, underfunding medical care by over $500 million dollars, which is equal to the cost of providing care for more than 60,000 veterans.”

The bill also includes more than $340 million to purchase an additional missile program and NATO actions, which will, in no way, benefit wounded veterans.

The passage of the MilCon-VA Appropriations Bill comes one day after Congress allowed the Zadroga Act to expire, which will leave more than 70,000 victims and first responders of the 9/11 attacks with no long term health benefits

more with video


Weekend Toon Roundup



Middle East


Militant Anti-Abortion Activist Behind the Planned Parenthood Video Fraud Arrested in Australia

Troy Newman, leader of the extremist anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, was detained while trying to illegally enter Australia after the country had revoked his visa.

Newman was instrumental in releasing the falsified Planned Parenthood videos that Republicans say prove that the agency harvests and sells fetal tissue and profits from it. Newman has such a volatile past that the Australian government denied his passport request last month. However, Newman still boarded a plane in Los Angeles and flew to Melbourne where he was detained.

“Since Mr. Newman-Mariotti does not hold a visa, he is unable to enter Australia and remains in the presence of ABF (Australian Border Force) officials at the Melbourne Airport pending his removal,” said a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.


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