Outrage over Japan’s review of sex slave apology | Asia | DW.DE | 19.06.2014

Real men would just admit that the guys in charge during war were jerks and stand by the apology and not start the shaming of victims again. Either that or accept

The argument of the nationalists is that these women were merely common prostitutes who were assisted in plying their trade by civilian brokers. Under pressure from his conservative supporters, the Abe administration announced in February that it was setting up a team to “re-examine and understand the background” of the Kono statement, including attempting to verify the testimony provided by former comfort women.

via Outrage over Japan’s review of sex slave apology | Asia | DW.DE | 19.06.2014.

To Fix VA Waits, Hire More Staff | Labor Notes

“I love the VA and would never work in the private system again,” said one provider. “I used to spend an hour or two a day on the phone with private insurance companies or writing letters to them… [At the VA] it’s not about making a buck.” (The agency tries to rein in press contact, so some providers asked us not to use their names.)

The real solutions to the agency’s problems may sound familiar. The VA needs to hire more frontline staff, fewer managers. It needs to update an antiquated computerized scheduling system, expand facilities where need is growing, and reduce missed appointments by offering rides.

It needs to use data such as wait time statistics as tools for improvement, not bludgeons. And it needs to act on feedback from concerned workers, instead of squelching it.

via To Fix VA Waits, Hire More Staff | Labor Notes.

University punishes students guilty of sexual assault with expulsion…after graduation

Stories of ridiculously lenient punishments for campus sexual assault have become a dime a dozen, but you gotta hand it to James Madison University for this one.

James Madison University punished three fraternity members for sexually assaulting a female student and sharing their video of the attack by banning them from campus — after they graduate.

via University punishes students guilty of sexual assault with expulsion…after graduation.

Unaffordable Health Care By Any Other Name | National Women’s Law Center

Imagine you and your spouse have an annual income of $47,700. It costs $100 a month, or $1,200 a year, for you to buy health insurance through your employer. That’s about 2.5% of your income.  It costs another $500 a month to add your spouse –— over 12.5% of your income. According to the IRS test, you and your spouse have affordable coverage because your coverage is only 2.5% of your income. It doesn’t matter how expensive your spouse’s coverage is – it could cost $2,000 a month and your family coverage would still be considered affordable.

via Unaffordable Health Care By Any Other Name | National Women’s Law Center.

“Plastic-eating” microbes help reduce marine debris: researchers – Channel NewsAsia

Coming soon: The Dixie Cup that Ate Cleveland!

Microscopic creatures could be helping reduce marine garbage on the ocean surface, not only by “eating” plastics but by causing tiny pieces to sink to the seafloor, Australian researchers said on Thursday.

The plastic-dwellers appear to be biodegrading the millions of tonnes of debris floating on waters worldwide, according to oceanographers at the University of Western Australia.

via “Plastic-eating” microbes help reduce marine debris: researchers – Channel NewsAsia.

Middle East “Expert” – US military force against ISIS in Iraq ‘is no longer avoidable’ – France 24

{Not volunteering to serve or be on any front line}

Paradoxically, the current conflict in Iraq and the changing geopolitical dynamics could accelerate the process of ending the civil war in Syria. To that end, the US must seize upon this opening and spearhead the delivery of weapons to the rebels to stop Assad from continuing his indiscriminate bombing of rebel hideouts while killing thousands of civilians in the process.

For this reason, once the US commits to preventing ISIS from achieving its goal, it cannot do so incrementally. All countries in the region have a common interest to bring an end to ISIS’ unseemly ambition. They must now set aside their differences and rally under American leadership to achieve their common objective.

Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU.

via Middle East – US military force against ISIS in Iraq ‘is no longer avoidable’ – France 24.

Water Cut-off in Detroit Violates Human Rights, Say Activists | Inter Press Service

“This is unprecedented,” said Maude Barlow, founder of the Blue Planet Project, a group that advocates water as a human right.

“I visited the city and worked with the Detroit People’s Water Board several weeks ago and came away terribly upset,” she told IPS.

“Water bills are regressive, so low-income households pay a disproportionate amount of their income for water service.” — Mary Grant, researcher at Food & Water Watch

She pointed out that hundreds of thousands of people, mostly African Americans, are having their water ruthlessly turned off.

Families with children, the elderly and the sick, cannot bathe, flush their toilets or cook in their own homes, she added.

“This is the worst violation of the human right to water I have ever seen outside of the worst slums in the poorest countries in failed states of the global South,” said Barlow, a one-time senior advisor on water to a former President of the U.N. General Assembly.

Last March, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) announced plans to shut off water service for 1,500 to 3,000 customers every week if their water bills were not paid. And on Tuesday, the City Council approved an 8.7-percent water rate increase.

According to a DWSD document, more than 80,000 residential households – in a city of 680,000 people – are in arrears, with thousands of families without water, and thousands more expected to lose access at any moment.

via Water Cut-off in U.S. City Violates Human Rights, Say Activists | Inter Press Service.