Let’s start with what we know: Since 2002, the US Congress has appropriated just over $109 billion for Afghanistan’s development, making this the largest foreign reconstruction program the government has ever undertaken (and surpassing the amount spent on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe’s economies following World War II). Much of the money has already been spent, with just $11.9 billion remaining in the kitty as of July 2015.
This much is clear. The rest – where the money has gone (and to whom), how it has been spent (and why), what there is to show for it (and where) – is guess work.
Last month a small government agency comprising 200 employees, also known as the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, submitted its quarterly report to Congress. Its findings do not inspire confidence; in fact, it reveals that billions of dollars earmarked for the development of this ravaged and bleeding country have all but disappeared into a black hole.
Officer Stephen Rankin leaves the US district court building in Norfolk, Virginia with his attorneys in February 2012. (photo: Brian J Clark/The Virginian-Pilot)
Jon Swaine | Guardian UK | Reader Support News | August 24, 2015
Eighteen-year-old was not close enough to officer Stephen Rankin to pose a threat, says family lawyer, as report shows he was subsequently handcuffed
n unarmed black 18-year-old was fatally shot in the face by a police officer from several feet away during their confrontation outside a supermarket in Virginia earlier this year, the findings of his autopsy indicate.
The typical signs of a close- or body-contact shooting were not found around the bullet wounds William Chapman sustained in the head and chest when he was killed by Officer Stephen Rankin in the parking lot of a Walmart in Portsmouth on 22 April. Chapman was the second unarmed man to be shot dead by Rankin.
“There is no evidence of close-range fire to visual inspection,” wrote Wendy Gunther, an assistant chief medical examiner for Virginia. Gunther said a definitive ruling would be made by the state’s department of forensic sciences.
Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine | August 23, 2015
Several thousand people showed up Saturday to rally behind three Kentucky clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kay Schwartz of Whitley County and Casey Davis of Casey County are each defying the Supreme Court’s June ruling striking down gay marriage bans in all 50 states. Democratic Governor Steve Beshear has called on the clerks to either issue marriage licenses to all qualified couples or quit.
According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the First Amendment Rally for County Clerks was held behind the Kentucky Capitol.
It’s 8pm on a Wednesday and in a Brooklyn loft, a Bernie Sanders screen-printing event is in full swing.
“It’s a four-year-old workout shirt,” says Nick Kowalczyk, holding up a once-white cotton T-shirt that now has a lot of yellowing under the arms.
Kowalcyzk, 29, is an actor originally from Atlanta. His friend asks if he plans to wear his cowboy hat with the freshly printed shirt, which now has a red heart with a cutout face in the middle which vaguely resembles an outline of the head of the Vermont senator and leftwing candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Above the heart: “Bernie.” Below it: “For President.”
A marker embedded in the pavement shows the border between the United States and Mexico at California’s San Ysidro checkpoint. (Photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP)
Michael Walsh | Reporter | Yahoo Politics | August 20, 2015
Republican presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump continues to inveigh against immigrants from Mexico, this week taking on the very concept of birthright citizenship that has allowed millions of people from all over the world — including the emancipated slaves — to become U.S. citizens and then bequeath that allegiance to their own offspring.
The U.S. Constitution has guaranteed U.S. citizenship to people born on United States soil, regardless of their parents’ nationality, since the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868. The amendment was designed to make sure that Americans of African ancestry were guaranteed U.S. citizenship — and attendant rights — after the Civil War and to reverse the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford Supreme Court decision of 1857, which declared that no American blacks, slave or free, had U.S. citizenship or the right to fight for their freedom in U.S. courts.
The 14th Amendment’s first sentence reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Joshua Alameda Franklin and his sons Alae and Poha (Photo via Gofundme page)
Sylvia Tan | Gay Star News | August 15, 2015
A gay father of two has filed a lawsuit naming the Department of Education, state schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz and others as defendants for failing to protect his sons from bullying because of his sexual orientation.
Joshua Alameda Franklin filed the lawsuit on Aug 7 after posting a YouTube video in April this year to raise awareness of the bullying his 9 and 10-year-old sons had to endure every day at school.
‘Both children have been subjected to ongoing pervasive, egregious and overwhelming student-on-student harassment as well as several incidents of teacher-on-student harassment directly resulting from the action and inaction of Department of Education officials,’ the lawsuit filed in in Hilo’s Third Circuit Court reads.
The father says he has repeatedly asked school administrators to intervene but they have done nothing to address the situation in which the children are said to have been called ‘gay’, ‘retarded’ and ‘fag’ by fellow students at Hilo Union Elementary, Waiakeawaena Elementary and other schools.