Short Takes: News From All Over: February 24, 2005

The Other Abused Prisoners
By Emily Bazelon, Mother Jones, and Tara McKelvey, The American Prospect
The Abu Ghraib scandal erupted after photographs offered irrefutable evidence that U.S. military personnel tortured Iraqi prisoners. But a host of stories ‘without art,’ based on military investigations that have documented similar abuses, have nary registered a blip on the moral-outrage radar. One such story, as told by Emily Bazelon in Mother Jones, examines how the military intelligence unit that presided over Abu Ghraib first honed its skills at the Bagram detention facility in Afghanistan, where two prisoners’ deaths were ruled by military officials to be homicides. Another, by Tara McKelvey in The American Prospect, tells of mistreatment, including sexual abuse, of female prisoners at Abu Ghraib. — Hannah Lobel

Navigating Income Taxes for Married Same-Sex Couples
By Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Gay Financial Network
So you think figuring out your taxes is tough? Try filing as a same-sex couple in a state that allows gay marriage and a country that doesn’t. GLAD steps in to help those who fit the above description. For those who don’t, this how-to guide offers a valuable look inside an anti-gay bureaucracy. — Hannah Lobel

Happiness is back
By Richard Layard, Prospect
The United States and Britain have grown wealthier over the last 50 years, but happiness among their citizens hasn’t followed the same track. Richard Layard believes that intense individualism is the culprit and argues for a public policy based on a new formulation of utilitarianism — the greatest happiness for the greatest number. It’s not as unrealistic as it seems, he says, since new research allows happiness to be scientifically measured. — Hannah Lobel

Peek: The Blog of Blogs
By Evan Derkacz, AlterNet
Need help navigating the blogosphere? AlterNet offers its expertise by launching a new … blog! Associate editor Evan Derkacz wades through the daily blog smog and points readers to the best of what’s out there. — Hannah Lobel

Reasons to Jeer
By Corrie Pikul,
Women’s eNews notes that while America just celebrated National Condom Week, the Bush Administration has increased its funding for ‘abstinence-only education’ by $30 million, bringing the total abstinence-only budget allocation for 2005 to $130 million. In addition, the Bush administration has cut $34 million annually since July 2002 to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), which works to ensure women’s education, healthcare, and reproductive rights around the world. What’s more, the UNFPA website notes that the Bush administration did not endorse the UNFPA plan because it mentions ‘sexual rights.’ — Barb Jacobs

Bush Says Happy Valentine’s Day with a Dozen Dreadful Judicial Re-Nominees
By Linda Berg,
The National Organization for Women’s website believes concerned citizens should closely track judicial nominations for the Federal Court of Appeals because federal circuit courts see almost 30,000 cases a year and their rulings have far reaching implications. The day after Valentine’s Day, NOW says George Bush revealed his feelings about women, people of color, people with disabilities, and environmentalists when he re-nominated 12 especially conservative circuit court judges. The list includes: Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Circuit Court), who claims that social security is unconstitutional and has accused senior citizens of ‘blithely cannibalizing their grandchildren;’ David W. McKeague (Sixth Circuit Court), who dismissed a Justice Department request to investigate allegations that female prisoners in Michigan were being abused and raped by male guards; and William H. Pryor (Eleventh Circuit Court), who said that Roe v. Wade was ‘the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law’ and voted against the Voting Rights Act, the Family and Medial Leave Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and the Clean Water Act. — Barb Jacobs

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