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The taboo around Russia bombing hospitals is fading and the WHO needs to do more, international legal expert says

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 8:30am
A destroyed hospital building on April 26, 2022 in Novyi Bykiv, Ukraine.
  • Russia may start to face consequences for bombing hospitals, according to an expert.
  • Gissou Nia, an international human rights lawyer, said that the world is still moving too slow.
  • In Syria, Russia helped with about 600 attacks on hospitals. In Ukraine, it has bombed over 200. 

For decades, international human rights protocols were created and enshrined to protect the bombing of civilian hospitals during wartime – until the war in Syria, and more recently, in Ukraine. 

"We see that that taboo is now gone," said Gissou Nia, an international human rights lawyer with the Atlantic Council, who co-authored a report in June urging the international community to do more to hold Russia to account for what international human rights groups have said is a cruel campaign of bombing hospitals in Syria and Ukraine.

In just the first 100 days of the war in Ukraine, Russian forces have attacked approximately 200 hospitals, according to the World Health Organization. In a grim parallel, during the Syrian war, 600 medical facilities were attacked, according to Physicians for Human Rights. The US, too has bombed medical facilities in Afghanistan, but Nia said the difference is Russia's systematic campaign of hitting medical centers.

Months into Russia's war in Ukraine, a top commander who oversaw bombing campaigns in Syria – dubbed the Butcher of Syria – was tapped to lead in Ukraine. 

Russia has also targeted humanitarian corridors and employed "double-tap strikes" – bombing a healthcare facility and the subsequent rescue operation – in both Syria and Ukraine. 

"I think this really shows that Russian forces and the Russian state really tested out the limits of what they could do in Syria," Nia told Insider.

Russia has denied that it has targeted hospitals in either country.

In their report, the Atlantic Council said that the pattern of attacking hospitals during wartime "undermines long-established and hard-won provisions under international humanitarian law that are intended to protect civilians during conflict."

Nia argues that with Russia's war in Ukraine, the problem is rapidly getting worse. And international organizations such as the World Health Organization, the International Criminal Court, and the United Nations are not responding quickly enough, the authors said. 

Nia, who also works with the ICC around Iran's abuses of human rights, spoke to Insider about how the taboo around Russia's actions is fading and offered potential legal solutions for justice and prevention. This interview has been edited for clarity. 

Based on the research that you've done and the strategy that Russia has taken in Syria and Ukraine, is Syria the first real conflict where those kind of attacks on medical facilities became systematic, or was there also, specific to Russia, a history of that before as well?

I think Syria is, unfortunately, the example of where these centuries-long protections in international humanitarian law were really eroded. It's definitely where we've seen, I think, the worst scale. One thing that really sticks out to me is that we know how grave the situation in Syria was in terms of the breadth and the range of crimes that were committed by the Syrian government, by its allies and also the non-state actors in the conflict. But there were more than 600 attacks on healthcare facilities in the course of that conflict, that of course involved the Assad Regime, but then later the Russians.

This is something that you also wrote extensively about in the report, but what recourse do you think the international community has, especially given that Russia has had the seat on the security council and blocked a lot of those efforts that would've gone through the security council?

I think it's no secret that obviously the international community has failed with respect to preventing atrocity crimes in Syria, and to some degree on the accountability side as well. We debated whether it was even worth putting a recommendation to the security council, given the structure and the challenges there. But what would be interesting is to really look at how some of the human rights bodies at the UN can elevate this issue.

There has to be more of a focus with respect to what the World Health Organization is doing. The WHO has their toe in starting to be a little more stern in language and posture on these attacks, but it's really quite something that they're stopping short of really calling out who the actual perpetrators are. I think they'll even say that it's because they're focused on humanitarian goals. But we think with the current state of play, that's not really acceptable. Certainly, from a data collection standpoint, there's a lot of things that could be improved and that doesn't cause problems for them in terms of detailed information about attacks, including the locations and descriptions, impact on the facility, and access to care.

I think the real reason that we wanted to put out this brief was to really focus on the accountability point, because there's been a lack of legal accountability for what happened in Syria since 2014 – that the Syrian government was attacked in healthcare. But over what is almost a decade, there's been little to no accountability. There's different reasons for that, including some of the evidentiary challenges in intentionality, because these are the crimes that are happening in conflict and the laws of war, as you know, they do permit death, right? So it's always a challenge. I think without direct admissions that Russian forces are actually intending to target hospitals, you have to prove that through the patterns. So that's why we spend a bit of time in the brief identifying the different patterns that seem to suggest that facilities are actually purposely being targeted as a method of warfare.

Then we go into how that could feed into different cases being built to actually hold some of these alleged perpetrators accountable, but also, some recommendations on the legal frameworks that exist in national systems. So in any jurisdictions that have universal jurisdiction-type laws or have civil litigation that has extra territorial application, we really need to ensure that those laws are able to prosecute and/or hold accountable perpetrators for these crimes. There's a lot of gaps in those laws.

I wanted to follow up on that point a little bit around universal jurisdiction and some of the trials that we've seen successfully prosecuted in Koblenz and the former Syrian intelligence officers. What has been stopping international war crimes trials around these attacks on hospitals, whether they be in Syria or Ukraine?

One of the biggest blockages has really been this inability to go after Russian perpetrators. Because even if you go after Syrian government perpetrators that were involved in attacks on healthcare, then the elephant in the room would be like, "Well, why are the Russians not on the dock for this?" 

So any indictment really needs to reflect the full range of charges, including against what may have happened in Syria, if Wagner Group is involved, what happened in Libya. So I actually think that's the main reason that we didn't see accountability for this sort of crime from a political standpoint. 

I think this is now a unique moment where European prosecutors who have opened up structural investigations in their countries, those that are working on joint investigative teams and the ones that are also working hand-in-hand with investigators from the International Criminal Court, they're specifically looking at alleged Russian perpetrators, and so there's an ability to now go after them for the full range of crimes. Some of those alleged Russian perpetrators who maybe were commanders and aerial forces that were bombing Mariupol, let's say might also bear responsibility for having bombed Aleppo in 2016.

One thing that I'll note that's connected to that, and it's something that we raise in the brief, is that there's obviously a lot of discussions around the freezing, the seizure, and the possible liquidation of Russian state assets and Russian oligarch assets. There's a big discussion around using that for Ukraine's reconstruction. We do believe that part of those monies if they are indeed liquidated ... needs to go to reparations for victims, and that is not only Ukrainian victims; that's also Syrian victims who have suffered violations by the same perpetrator groups. We think any mechanism that's established to do that needs to factor in that recovery. That could be for victims of hospital attacks. 

What do you think is the boldest strategy being pursued right now? That could include the ICC inquiry as well. I know that ICC inquiry, when it comes to Syria, can be a little bit difficult because Syria's not a member.

Well, it's interesting that you mentioned the ICC because in terms of crimes against humanity of deportation, persecution, and other inhumane acts – if any of these crimes were completed in the territory of Jordan, there is a pathway.

So basically if Syrian refugees fled to Jordan, then the jurisdictional argument is that then jurisdiction applies, and so you're looking at a very narrow slice of the Syrian conflict, but those folks who flee, the argument is that there are coercive acts that were committed that forced them to flee. Coercive acts can include things like detention. It can also include attacks on healthcare, and so there is actually a way for the ICC Office of the Prosecutor to look at attacks on healthcare in the Syrian conflict, if those constituted the coercive acts that caused Syrian refugees to flee to Jordan.

In terms of other bold strategies, what we see with Ukraine is a really welcome development in terms of the justice response. We saw 43 member states of the ICC actually referring the matter to the prosecutor to get him to open an investigation into the situation in Ukraine – that's unprecedented. Prior to that, the highest number of state member state referrals was Venezuela. That was six or seven states, I believe, and that was seen as a lot.

So to have this kind of state involvement is a really good sign. It shows that the go-to response was a justice response and that's so important. As part of the strategies of European prosecutors, of Ukrainian prosecutors – because they're the ones that have already commenced and closed trials, right? – they're going to be doing a lot of these trials domestically. And that the ICC and other international justice players all look at attacks on hospitals and elevate that within the justice discussion, I think is key.

I guess that's a big difference between Ukraine and Syria too, is that within Syria, there was really no ongoing hope of trying any of those cases within the Syrian justice system, because it's allied with the Russians. But Ukraine is facing an occupying force, and is able to build those cases within Ukraine's borders, and within its own judicial system.

Yeah. It makes a big difference in a few ways. Ukraine could give a declaration of jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court. They did so back in 2014. They had two declarations and that was about Crimea. So it was about other things, but they've had this ongoing declaration of jurisdiction. They're not an ICC member state, but they are authorized to let the prosecutor have jurisdiction, so they did that. Obviously, you wouldn't see the Assad regime giving a voluntary declaration of jurisdiction.

It also allows access to crime scenes, so I think you see that international independent investigators are given access to visit Boucha and different crime scenes in Ukraine, that kind of access to independent international investigators is obviously not allowed in many regions of Syria, of course; some others maybe, but no government-held part of Syria. So that also affects the forensics that are collected and what evidence can be collected, so there are differences definitely. There's a range of reasons why this is being facilitated a bit more easily in Ukraine, but part of it is that the state is asking for this and cooperating.

What do you hope that readers understand about the effect of bombing healthcare facilities? 

Attacking hospitals and healthcare more broadly just compounds the already existing pain of war. To attack them when they're at their most vulnerable, and then to attack the healthcare providers that are trying to mitigate the worst aspects of these conflicts, this is just really beyond the pale offense. So the globe does need to take this more seriously, because we should be doing everything we can to mitigate civilian harms. We completely failed to do that in Syria, and I do worry that in Ukraine, some of those patterns are repeating because that impunity was there. And the cycle needs to stop now.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Russian oligarch's seized $75 million superyacht will be first up for auction, report says

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 8:24am
Dmitry Pumpyansky's superyacht Axioma is being held in Gibraltar.
  • Dmitry Pumpyansky's seized superyacht will be auctioned following a Gibraltar supreme court order.
  • The Axioma, worth $75 million, was held in March after it took a risky detour to Gibraltar. 
  • The vessel was reportedly on its way to Turkey where many others found a safe haven. 

A superyacht belonging to Russian tycoon Dmitry Pumpyansky will be the first seized. vessel to be auctioned following an order from Gibraltar's supreme court.

ESysman SuperYachts, a YouTube channel that reports on seizure of oligarchs' vessels, said in a video that the court had ordered the 240ft Axioma to be sold.

In most cases, authorities cannot sell a seized superyacht without going through legal battles, saddling them with running and maintenance costs that can amount to between 10% and 15% of the vessel's value a year.

JPMorgan was involved in the seizure of the vessel in March after Pumpyansky became subject to western sanctions.

Although the $75 million superyacht is owned by the Russian billionaire, it is run by an management company called Pyrene Investments, according to eSysman Superyachts.

JPMorgan had lent $22 million to Pyrene Investments and Pumpyansky's inclusion on the sanctions list meant that the loan agreement was breached, according to Luxury Launches.

Pumpyanksy made his fortune in the oil and gas industry. He joined forces with Sergei Popov and Andrei Melnichenko to acquire pipe conglomerate TMK before buying them out in 2006. TMK has supplied Russia's state-owned gas company Gazprom since 1998.

Dmitry Pumpyansky made his fortune in the oil and gas industry.

Assets linked to Russian oligarchs have been seized, detained or frozen amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February. Properties, private jets and even art as well as superyachts have been targeted by western authorities. 

Turkey has been a favored destination for superyachts as Ankara hasn't sanctioned Russia, meaning that oligarchs' assets are safe from seizure in its waters. 

A $156 million superyacht owned by sanctioned billionaire Andrey Skoch, one of the richest members of the Russian Duma, was spotted docked in Dubai as Russians continue to avoid western sanctions in the United Arab Emirates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Donald Trump Jr. suggested Roe v. Wade was overturned as a direct result of Obama making fun of his father in 2011

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 8:23am
Donald Trump Jr., son of former US. President Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump Jr. suggested the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade because Obama made fun of his father.
  • Obama poked fun at Trump for hyping the "birther" conspiracy theory at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner.
  • Trump was reported to have been furious with Obama over the jokes.

Donald Trump Jr. posted a meme suggesting the overturning of Roe v. Wade directly resulted from then-President Barack Obama making fun of his father at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Trump Jr. posted a "domino effect" meme on Instagram with the caption "Fuck Around And Find Out!!!"

The meme featured the label "Roe v. Wade overruled," appearing to be the consequence of "Obama making fun of Trump at a dinner in 2011."

A post shared by Donald Trump Jr. (@donaldjtrumpjr)


During the 2011 dinner, Obama famously poked fun at Donald Trump, who was in the audience, for his promotion of the racist "birther" conspiracy theory that Obama was not a United States citizen. 

"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald," Obama said of Trump.

"And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter –- like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"

Obama also mocked Trump's role as host of the TV show Celebrity Apprentice, talking about a recent episode in which Trump chose which celebrity to fire over poor steakhouse cooking.

"These are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled," Obama said. 

Around the time of the dinner, Trump had begun hinting at the possibility of running for president in 2012 but ultimately did not.

Then-Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, who attended the dinner, wrote in a recent book that Trump was "beside himself with fury" after Obama's speech.

On Friday, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, undoing nearly 50 years of legalized abortion nationwide.

Many in conservative circles directly credited Donald Trump with the ruling, as he appointed three supreme court justices during his presidency, all of whom voted to overturn the landmark abortion law.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The stock market could surge 7% next week as quarter-end rebalancing drives buying spree for equities, JPMorgan says

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 8:15am
  • The stock market could surge 7% next week as quarter-end rebalancing leads to a buying spree in equities, according to JPMorgan.
  • The bank expects rebalancing trades to favor equities after a year-to-date decline of nearly 20%.
  • "Next week's rebalance is important since equity markets were down significantly over the past month, quarter and six-month time periods," JPMorgan said.

Investors should expect a sharp 7% rally unfold in the US stock market next week as quarter-end rebalancing trades among investment portfolios leads to a buying spree in equities, JPMorgan said in a Friday note.

The bank highlighted that while rebalancing trades are usually not the main driver of the stock market, they can have an outsized impact when stocks see big moves in the same direction. In today's case, nearly all stocks are down big, with the S&P 500 down nearly 20% year-to-date. 

The rebalancing trades can also have an outsized impact on the stock market when liquidity is low, which is the case today, according to JPMorgan. "Taking into account the current market liquidity, as measured by futures market depth, which is about 5 times lower the historical average," JPMorgan's Marko Kolanovic said. 

"Next week's rebalance is important since equity markets were down significantly over the past month, quarter and six-month time periods, and it is happening in a period of low liquidity. On top of that, the market is in an oversold condition, cash balances are at record levels, and recent market shorting activity reached levels not seen since 2008," Kolanovic said.

Any up move in the stock market next week would be reinforced by quant trading funds and option gamma hedging flows that reinforce momentum, according to the bank.

This scenario has already played out in 2022. JPMorgan highlighted that near the end of the first quarter when the stock market was down 10%, it experienced a 7% rally in the last week of March. And during the end of May when the market was down 10%, it experienced a rally of 7% heading into month end as rebalancing trades were executed.

The current rebalancing setup is similar heading into the end of the second-quarter, given how big the recent decline in stocks has been.

"Rebalances across all three lookback windows would reinforce and, based on historical regression, would imply a 7% move up in equities next week," Kolanovic said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Get ready for a summer of air travel hell

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 8:10am

Hi, I'm Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to Insider Weekly, a roundup of some of our top stories. 

On the agenda today:

But first: On Friday, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that legalized abortion across the US. We're highlighting some valuable reads from across our newsroom.

If this was forwarded to you, sign up here.  Download Insider's app here.

Our ongoing coverage of Roe v. Wade

Activists march along Constitution Avenue to the US Supreme Court on May 14, 2022.

Friday's SCOTUS decision undoes nearly 50 years of legalized abortion nationwide — and soon, the US will see a domino effect of legal, social and economic changes. Follow Insider's live updates on the ruling here. And to help navigate all of this, here's a look at some of the important pieces we've published.

Now, onto this week's top stories.Air travel will be hell this summer

This has been a particularly bad year for air travel. In fact, 2022 has had the highest percentage of delayed flights and highest percentage of canceled flights in the past eight years. (And just think of all the headlines from last weekend's air travel chaos…)

Dozens of different factors are adding up to a hectic summer for travel, but they all mean one thing: If you're flying this summer, get ready for a travel nightmare.

Here's what you need to know.

'Widespread misery' among lawyers

Being a lawyer may look glamorous on TV — an industry of overachievers in high-paying jobs with clear paths to promotions. But in recent years, attorneys have started to become more vocal about something: They're miserable.

Many lawyers are deeply dissatisfied with their day-to-day work. Some who wanted to change the world feel like they're just serving as butlers to capitalism. In fact, lawyers are so miserable, a bunch of coaching services have sprung up to help them escape their careers.

Here's why so many lawyers hate their jobs.

Plus, you might also want to read:

These are the top CMOs of 2022

For Insider's seventh annual "Most Innovative CMOs" list, we consulted with industry experts and took nominations from the marketing community to identify 31 execs who are pushing their companies forward.

Execs from brands like Adidas, DoorDash, and Savage X Fenty made the list, but they all have one thing in common: They've risen to the challenges posed by the pandemic, economic jitters, and privacy changes.

Meet the 31 most innovative chief marketers. 

Inside Amazon's executive shake-up

An employee handles packages at the Amazon's Bretigny-sur-Orge warehouse in France.

On Tuesday, Amazon announced Doug Herrington's appointment as the company's new retail CEO, replacing the recently departed Dave Clark.

Soon after the company's announcement, Alicia Boler-Davis, SVP of global customer fulfillment, and David Bozeman, VP of Amazon transportation services, announced their resignations — marking the departure of two of the most-senior Black executives at Amazon.

What we know about Amazon's leadership changes.

Plus, read Herrington's first memo to employees:

This week's dispatch:

Doodles at NFT.NYC

Hi! Phil Rosen here — I write our 10 Things Before the Opening Bell markets newsletter. I just wrapped up NFT.NYC, a conference where over 16,000 digital-asset enthusiasts converged for a week of festivities.

Those who have the splashiest NFTs from the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection — which are worth over six figures even in a bear market — showed up in droves this week. I met someone who bought an Ape a year ago for $1,700, and he's already made nearly 100 times his investment. Another pair of Ape owners told me their digital assets had become part and parcel of their very identity

Even though crypto markets are all red and NFT sales have cratered, not many people talked about that.

I went to a party on a megayacht, rubbed shoulders with metaverse CEOs, and took the pulse of a movement that sees itself as the future — and made sure to write all about it. 

Here are two of my favorite stories:

And for more from the world of crypto and markets: Sign up for 10 Things Before the Opening Bell

More of this week's top reads:

Plus: Keep updated with the latest business news throughout your weekdays by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio-news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here tomorrow.

Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Lisa Ryan and Jordan Parker Erb. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Gloria Steinem slams Roe v. Wade repeal, says 'there is no democracy' without the right to chose

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 8:01am
Gloria Steinem was one of the most important activists of the Women's Movement.
  • Gloria Steinem said, "without the right of women and men to make decisions about our own bodies, there is no democracy."
  • "Don't agonize. Organize," she wrote on Twitter. 
  • The famed feminist has said that "controlling reproduction is "the first step in any authoritarian government."

 Journalist and feminist leader Gloria Steinem has slammed the impact of repealing Roe v. Wade will have on democracy, in an email to AP.

"Obviously, without the right of women and men to make decisions about our own bodies, there is no democracy," she said. 

She has called for action to fight the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, protecting US abortion rights.

"Banning abortions does not stop the need. It just bans their safety."

"Don't agonize. Organize," wrote the 88-year-old on Twitter. 

Steinem said the ruling "guarantees civil disobedience and disrespect for the court."

Steinem was at the forefront of the civil rights movement for women's equality in the '60s and 70s.

AP writes that Steinem was inspired to move from journalism to feminist activism after she attended a "speak-out"  women's meeting where she could discuss her own illegal abortion in London when she was 22 for the first time. 

At the end of 2021, Steinem told NPR that "controlling reproduction has always been the first step in any hierarchical or authoritarian government."

The repealing of Roe v. Wade has sparked anger and protests worldwide, with global leaders condemning the Supreme Court and hoards of crowds marching through the streets. 

Many celebrities have also denounced the ruling. 

For example, Lizzo is fundraising for Planned Parenthood and Abortion Rights, and Harry Styles has said he is "absolutely devastated" for Americans. 

One father spent the night of the Supreme Court ruling sleeping atop a DC bridge to protest it. 

Guido Reichstadter told Insider, "Tens of millions of women are waking up without the right to control their bodies, and that's why I'm on top of this bridge. I can't understand why the streets aren't already full of fathers standing up for their children's lives."

Read the original article on Business Insider

See inside a wildly popular shipping container home that a couple built and rents on Airbnb for almost $430 a night

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 8:00am
  • Emily and Seth Britt have built three shipping container homes in Ohio.
  • The homes are now almost completely booked on Airbnb through 2022.
  • See inside the husband and wife duo's first and most popular build starting at $427 a night.
Not all shipping containers are destined for a life of logistics and transportation.Some end up becoming trendy Instagram friendly homes starting at over $400 a night.Over the last few years, creative startups and hospitality groups have turned the large corrugated containers into homes, hotel concepts, and Airbnbs.The Pad hotel and hostel in Silverthorne, Colorado.

Source: Insider, Insider

And some companies, like husband and wife duo Seth Britt and Emily Britt's Box Hop, have found fortuitous success in this booming industry.In 2017, the Britts decided to build a personal vacation home in Hocking Hills State Park outside of Columbus, Ohio, for their growing family.But instead of constructing an ordinary cabin, the couple decided to embark on Seth Britt's years-long dream of building a shipping container home.In 2018, with the help of family, friends, and YouTube tutorials, the couple turned three 40-foot-tall shipping containers they purchased from a local provider into a three-bedroom home that they now affectionately refer to as the OG Box.Like many entrepreneurial homeowners, the couple decided to list the home on Airbnb for a stream of passive income while they stayed elsewhere.And to the surprise of the family, that's when the home "totally took off," Seth Britt told Insider.Since mid-2019, the OG Box has hit a nearly 100% occupancy rate, the couple said."We rarely wanted to book it for ourselves because we were so excited about the interest people had and the support we were getting," Emily Britt told Insider.And what once began as a plan to build a vacation home suddenly turned into the pair's full time job.This public interest pushed the Britts to build two more shipping container homes to list on Airbnb: the one-bedroom Boho and five-bedroom Hygge (pictured below).And so far, their business has seen resounding success.The OG and Boho are almost completely booked through the end of 2022.

Source: Airbnb, Airbnb

Even the larger Hygge, which is harder to fill because of its size, is substantially booked through this year.

Source: Airbnb

Box Hop's success shouldn't come as a surprise: Hotels are out, and vacations in unusual accommodations like the Hygge container home (pictured below) are in."Millennials and Gen Zers don't want to go to a place and stay in a hotel," Seth Britt said. "They want to go to a place where they can experience something more fun and immersive." (Hygge pictured)Since the start of COVID-19, vacationers have been flocking to unconventional hospitality arrangements like tiny homes, yurts, or these shipping container homes like the Hygge model below.

Source: Insider

This desire for the unorthodox might be why the OG build — which features a uniquely stacked design — has attracted more visitors than Box Hop's other models, Emily Britt said.Let's take a tour inside the container home starting at $427 a night, which looks more like an Instagram-able boutique hotel than a stack of metal boxes.For the couple's first build, the multi-level OG looks as professional and trendy as any home.Inside the matte black and wood accented home, there are three bright bedrooms …… two contemporary bathrooms …… a kitchen and living room with a large dining table …… and a reading nook that opens into the upper patio.During Ohio's warmer months, guests can use the hot tub on the lower deck.But during the cold snowy winter, guests can warm up by the gas fireplace.The home's bright neutral-toned interior looks nothing like a traditional wood cabin tucked away in a forest.According to Seth Britt, this "unconventional" design, as far as shipping containers go, is what created the initial hype around the home.And it's easy to see why.The container home's trendy decorative accents like a neon light in one of the upstairs bedrooms …… walls of windows with beautiful views of the trees …… and charming string of outdoor lights all make the container home a haven for both Instagram influencers and families looking for a city escape.This container home is already drawing in plenty of business, but the couple has no plans to slow down their growth.The Britts are now working on several additional projects including a container home near Lake Michigan.They're focused on building units in markets near plenty of outdoor activities.But in the long term, the couple wants to have 5,000 Box Hop homes sprinkled throughout the country.On the side, they're also exploring the possibility of franchising Box Hop to help people create container homes like the Boho model pictured below for both vacation homes and short-term rental properties."I think there should be a Box Hop in a short day trip for everybody in the US," Seth Britt said (Hygge pictured below).Read the original article on Business Insider

Congress made school meals free for 2 years. Now, Republicans don't want to extend the program.

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 8:00am
  • At the start of the pandemic, Congress made school lunches free and universal. That'll end June 30.
  • The House has pushed to extend the waivers, but Senate Republicans are holding them back.
  • School lunch workers worry about the impact on kids if the waivers end.

Prior to the pandemic, Jennifer Kapinus, who's in charge of food for a school district in rural Wisconsin, found herself doing something she hates: playing debt collector. 

Every week, she'd find herself calling parents over debts their children racked up while buying school lunch. Many parents who would qualify for free or reduced-price meals never filled out applications, for any number of personal reasons. 

While "luckily" the district would never take away meals from students, Kapinus said, she would have to call parents and send out letters to get them to pay off debt they "honestly cannot afford to pay." 

Jennifer Kapinus.

Kapinus isn't alone: Leah Botko, a food service director in Massachusetts, said there's about $20,000 in unpaid student debt every year in her district.

Then the pandemic hit. In 2020, the government took several extraordinary measures to keep Americans financially afloat, from stimulus checks to enhanced unemployment benefits. Included in that were waivers making school lunch free for every K-12 student.

The waivers meant that kids weren't going into school lunch debt, or dealing with the shame of being on free or reduced-price lunch — and that lunch providers could expand what food they were offering to their students.

But Republicans are blocking the renewal of the waivers, spelling a potential end for the program on June 30.

In Kapinus's district, with meals now free, participation increased greatly. Same for Botko, whose program used to feed about 40 kids a day. Now, they're feeding at least 280 daily. 

The more kids they fed, the more reimbursement they got from the federal government. Kapinus's district was able to afford to "feed our kids better and healthier," buying local meat and fresh produce. They were able to staff up, and replace equipment. Botko has partnered with a local farm down the street to buy produce.

That helps the local economy, Botko said, and it helps parents get more onboard with school lunches.

"They don't think of school lunch as something that comes out of the freezer anymore. It comes right down the street," she said. 

Congress extended the program once in 2021, ensuring that the nearly 12 million children who didn't have enough to eat at some point in the pandemic could get food at school. But lawmakers — and, specifically, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — opted not to renew the universal program as part of the spending package passed in March that kept the government open. 

However, a bipartisan agreement was struck to renew a limited waiver program that would ensure some children are still able to get free meals through the summer.

"Kids deserve to be healthy, they deserve to be well-fed"Sen. Rand Paul.

Some states like California already have universal school lunch programs. State lawmakers in New York, Massachusetts, and a handful of other states are attempting to establish their own programs, but students in most states will be left out once the federal program ends.

"You're creating an issue of equity just based on the geography of where these kids live," Meier said.

To qualify for free meals during the 2022 school year, a family of three needs to make an income of $29,939 or below, considered 130% of the federal poverty level. That's a sharp reversal from the expansion over the last two years, which opened up free lunches to all students regardless of their family's income.

Republicans lined up against renewing universal free lunches, arguing it's a pandemic-era program that shouldn't be made permanent. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky objected to quick passage of a bipartisan agreement to extend a scaled back version of the program past June 30. But he secured some changes that allowed the Senate to pass it, sending it back to the House before Biden signs it.

"Kids deserve to be healthy, they deserve to be well-fed, and by extending these nutrition waivers before they expire we can make sure that no student will have to worry about where they are going to get their lunch during the summer," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday.

Some kids have only experienced schools with free and universal meals

Some kids — especially younger ones — may not even remember a time without free lunch.

"They have now lived the majority of their public school life through a pandemic, where school is a guaranteed provider of meals. That's going to go away for them," Jillien Meier, the director of partnerships and campaign strategies for advocacy group No Kids Hungry, told Insider. "I don't think they're cognizant of that, but I guarantee you on the first day of school, if there isn't food in front of them, that's when it will be a problem."

Amy Frewing has handed out some of those lunches. She works in the library of a large suburban elementary school in Oregon and distributed library books to kids through a pickup window during the height of the pandemic. 

She realized that families were coming to the school at a certain time every day to pick up their meals through the program. She changed her library window time to coincide with lunchtime pickup, so kids could get their books and their lunches at the same time. During a time of isolation, especially for students and teachers, it meant she got to see some of the same people every day.

"They never had to verify that they were a student of the school," Frewing said. "They never put a limit on how many lunches they could get, and it was always a selection of healthy snacks."

She said that the program helped destigmatize kids getting their meals from school. Everyone was treated the same — unlike what she saw growing up, where kids on reduced-price lunch had different colored tickets in the cafeteria.

On Fridays, she would send families home with larger packs to cover dinner and other weekend meals.

"When basic needs of food and shelter aren't being met, I think it's unconscionable. It's a basic human need," Frewing said. "I know that there's a lot of people who think that, oh, people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and this is the country of opportunity and there's so many jobs available. Try telling that to a single mom with children who is using the majority of their money just to cover shelter." 

Botko, the food service director in Massachusetts, is fielding emails from parents asking if lunch will be free next year. She's anticipating parents being upset, participation going down, and having to end relationships with local food sources.

Leah Botko.

When she was a kid, Botko qualified for reduced-price lunch. She never took advantage of it, though, because she was ashamed. History could repeat itself as the waivers wind down.

"I feel like kids are going to be embarrassed to get lunch again," she said.

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Trump said he was 'scared of COVID' after testing positive because he knew people who died from it, Jan. 6 filmmaker says

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 2:52am
Former President Donald Trump.
  • Trump was "scared of COVID" because he knew people who had died, filmmaker Alex Holder told The Hill.
  • Holder said his footage captured Trump family members admitting how sick he was. 
  • Holder has been following Trump and his family members for a documentary on Jan. 6.

Former President Donald Trump was "scared of COVID" after learning that he contracted the virus, British filmmaker Alex Holder told The Hill.

Trump tested positive for COVID-19 in September of 2020 and was admitted to the Walter Reed Medical Center in early October. 

Despite being given supplemental oxygen, antibodies, and dexamethasone, which was given to patients at the time with serious cases of the illness, Trump told his supporters "don't be afraid of COVID" days after being admitted. 

However, Holder said while filming Trump, the former president said he knew people who had died of the virus and that made him fearful for his health.

"What he said to me was that the reason why he was sort of scared of COVID was essentially because he knew people who had died of COVID, basically he was referring to his friends, he was referring to people he knew personally that had got COVID and that some of them had died," Holder told The Hill. 

Holder also said that the family admitted for the first time "how sick he was and how scared they were" that Trump had COVID.

The filmmaker was subpoenaed by the House committee overseeing the investigation over the events of Jan. 6 because of footage he collected as part of a documentary called "Unprecedented" which is set to be released on Discovery+. The film follows Trump and those around him in the months leading up to the Jan. 6 riot.

Footage from the trailer released Thursday includes interviews with Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and former Vice President Mike Pence. 

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Planned Parenthood sues Utah to stop trigger law that makes abortion a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 1:54am
Pro-choice supporters and staff of Planned Parenthood hold a rally outside the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St. Louis, Missouri, May 31, 2019.
  • Planned Parenthood is suing Utah's Governor and Attorney General to stop a "trigger law" abortion ban. 
  • The ban took effect Friday after Roe vs. Wade was overturned, forcing clinics to cancel appointments. 
  • Utah's law makes elective abortion a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah is suing to stop the state's "trigger law" abortion ban that took effect on Friday following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The Utah law makes abortions, with limited exceptions, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. 

In the lawsuit filed Saturday, Planned Parenthood argues the Utah ban, which provides exceptions in cases of rape, incest, and the life or health of the mother, is a violation of equal protection rights and the right to due process and bodily integrity. Planned Parenthood is seeking a restraining order to prevent enforcement of the law from taking place while the suit plays out in court. 

"Utahns harmed by this extreme abortion ban will include women who seek care just days or weeks after discovering a missed period; those who are already struggling to pull their children out of poverty, finish school, escape an abusive partner, or overcome addiction; sexual assault survivors who, as is common, do not report their assault to law enforcement; and families grieving fetal diagnoses that they know they are ill-equipped to cope with," the suit read.

Already, the lawsuit added, the three Planned Parenthood abortion clinics in the state have had to cancel more than 50 previously scheduled abortion appointments in response to the trigger law taking effect. 

"Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated a federal constitutional right. In one terrible moment, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Utahns' power to control their own bodies, lives, and personal medical decisions was threatened," Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. "Yesterday's decision was devastating, but Planned Parenthood will never stop standing with and fighting for the rights of our patients and providers. Not now, not ever."

Utah's abortion ban was passed as a "trigger law" in 2020 that would only go into effect if Roe v. Wade was overturned. Once the Supreme Court's ruling was released on Friday, the state's legislative general counsel certified the decision and abortions became illegal. 

A person who seeks or performs an illegal abortion in Utah may be fined $10,000 and sentenced to between one and 15 years in prison. 

Utah's Attorney General Sean Reyes, who is named as a defendant in the suit, said in a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune on Friday that the Supreme Court's decision is "clear" and he is prepared to face legal pushback over the state law. Reyes did not respond to Insider's request for comment. 

"It has returned the question of abortion to the states. And the Utah legislature has answered that question," Reyes said in the statement. "My office will do its duty to defend the state law against any and all potential legal challenges."

Governor Spencer Cox and the head of Utah's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing were also listed as defendants in the suit. Cox did not respond to Insider's request for comment. 

"If left in place, the Criminal Abortion Ban will be catastrophic for Utahns," the lawsuit read. "The Act will force some Utahns seeking abortion to instead carry pregnancies to term against their will, with all of the physical, emotional, and financial costs that entails."

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Alito said women seeking abortions should have to listen to distressing details about fetal development as 'part of the responsibility of moral choice'

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 1:41am
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito
  • Justice Samuel Alito argued in favor of abortion regulations that would help eventually overturn Roe.
  • Alito said it was part of a "moral choice" that women hear about fetal development prior to an abortion.
  • Alito was one of five justices that voted to overturn Roe v. Wade on Friday.

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative justice on the Supreme Court, once wrote the distress patients experienced after hearing details of fetal development prior to obtaining an abortion are "part of the responsibility of moral choice."

After the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to overturn Roe v. Wade, attention has been directed to the conservative justices who voted to overturn the constitutional right to abortion. 

Alito, one of the justices who voted to overturn Roe, strategized throughout his career to make sure that the ruling would eventually be possible, The New York Times reported.

In a 1985 memo on two abortion restrictions cases, Alito responded to a circuit judge's argument from Planned Parenthood League of Mass. v. Bellotti that said laws requiring patients to be informed about fetal development prior to obtaining an abortion would result in "emotional distress, anxiety, guilt, and in some cases increased physical pain." 

Alito, at the time a lawyer in the Department of Justice under former President Ronald Reagan, said such processes were "medically relevant" and necessary prior to obtaining an abortion.

"Does this mean that women have a right to make an uninformed choice — even though that choice involves something more than their own wellbeing?" Alito wrote.

In the same 1985 memo, Alito said that regulations on abortion should be upheld by courts in order to "advance the goals of bringing about the eventual overruling of Roe v. Wade."

In Friday's ruling, Alito wrote that Roe was "egregiously wrong from the start" and said that the Constitution could not protect the right to abortion.

"Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences," Alito wrote. "And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division."

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Instagram is testing out a trial in which it scans users' faces for proof they are over 18 years old

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 1:01am
Instagram said on Thursday it was turning to a new method to verify users' ages: scanning their faces in videos.
  • Instagram said it's trying out new ways to verify users' ages, including scanning their faces.
  • Alternatively, users can also have three friends vouch for their age or upload images of their IDs.
  • The trial launched on June 23 in the US.

Instagram is testing out new ways to verify users' ages, including scanning their faces.

The company announced the trial, which began on June 23 and is currently only being rolled out in the US, in a blog post. The trial is focused on users who try to change their age on the app from under 18 to over 18. Those users have three ways to verify their age: upload a photo of their ID, ask three mutual friends verify their age, or record a video selfie.

If a user selects the video selfie method, Instagram passes the videos to a London-based identity-verification startup, Yoti. Yoti will scan the user's facial features in the videos to confirm their ages, the company said.

Both Yoti and Instagram will delete the data once they've verified the user's age, per the announcement. The London startup's algorithm only verifies the user's age and not their identity, Instagram wrote, quoting a whitepaper from Yoti.

Instagram said the process will allow it to offer age-appropriate content for its users.

"Understanding someone's age online is a complex, industry-wide challenge. We want to work with others in our industry, and with governments, to set clear standards for age verification online," the company wrote in the blog post.

If a user chooses to submit a photo of their ID to confirm their age, the image will be deleted after 30 days, the company said.

Instagram has come under fire from parents and critics who say the company exposes minors to harmful content. In 2019, Instagram started checking users' ages to prevent people under the age of 13 from creating accounts. In August, it started asking existing users to provide their birthdays. And in September, Facebook — which owns Instagram has since been renamed Meta — suspended the launch of Instagram Kids, a version of the app it had been building for children under the age of 13.

Other social media companies have also been scanning users' faces to bar minors from using their platforms. French social-networking site Yubo said in May it was partnering with Yoti to capture images of users' faces to identify minors. China's Tencent said in January that it would study users' faces when they log on in order to limit children's gaming time on its platform.

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GOP Rep. Mary Miller thanked Trump for a 'historic victory for white life' in light of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

Sun, 06/26/2022 - 12:50am
Rep. Mary Miller speaks during a "Save America" rally with former President Donald Trump at the Adams County Fairgrounds in Mendon, Ill., on June 25, 2022.
  • Illinois GOP Rep. Mary Miller slipped up and thanked Trump for "the historic victory for white life."
  • The congresswoman, who has been endorsed by Trump, made the remarks at a "Save America" rally.
  • Miller's campaign told NBC News that she misspoke and intended to say "right to life."

Rep. Mary Miller during a Saturday rally praised former President Donald Trump for his three conservative Supreme Court appointments and remarked that he paved the way for "the historic victory for white life" after the high court overturned Roe v. Wade.

While speaking to the pro-Trump audience, the Illinois Republican lauded the former president, who is backing her in the 15th congressional district GOP primary over fellow Rep. Rodney Davis.

"Thank you so much, President Trump. I am so honored to have your endorsement," Miller said.

She continued: "President Trump, on behalf of all the MAGA patriots in America, I want to thank you for the historic victory for white life in the Supreme Court yesterday."

During his term in office, Trump appointed conservative jurists Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. All three joined the majority opinion issued on Friday that upheld the 2018 Mississippi law banning most abortions in the state — and consequentially struck down Roe, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion and afforded a constitutional right to the procedure.

—Acyn (@Acyn) June 26, 2022

The congresswoman then began to clap as Trump stood beside her at the "Save America" rally in Mendon, located in western Illinois near the Mississippi River.

Miller's campaign on Saturday told NBC political journalist Natasha Korecki that the congresswoman misread her comments at the rally and intended to say "right to life" instead of "white life."

—Natasha Korecki (@natashakorecki) June 26, 2022

Miller also tweeted a photo while reaffirming what her campaign told Korecki: "I will always defend the RIGHT TO LIFE!"

The congresswoman, who was first elected in 2020, stoked controversy — and the ire of Democrats — soon after taking office. In January 2021, she made comments at a "Save the Republic" rally seemingly praising German dictator and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

"Each generation has the responsibility to teach and train the next generation," she said at the event. "You know, if we win a few elections, we're still going to be losing, unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle."

She continued: "Hitler was right on one thing: He said, 'Whoever has the youth, has the future.' Our children are being propagandized."

Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois called for Miller to resign from office at the time of the remarks.

"To say that Adolf Hitler, the perpetrator of the worst genocide in world history, is 'right' about anything is disqualifying for any supposed 'leader' serving in Congress," the Democratic lawmaker said.

After initially pushing back the outcry generated by her statements, Miller backtracked and affirmed her support of Israel.

Insider has reached out to Miller's campaign for further comment.

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Many Republicans rejoiced at Roe being overturned but these 4 GOP governors want to protect the right to abortion

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 11:28pm
Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire.
  • Many Republicans celebrated Friday's Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.
  • Four Republican Governors told the Washington Post they would support abortion rights.
  • Gov. Phil Scott of VT and Gov. Charlie Baker of MA were "deeply disappointed" by the decision.

After Friday's Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling, which revoked the constitutional right to abortion, many Republicans celebrated it as a win

The GOP has long been at the forefront of the fight to restrict abortion access and many Republican-led states have enacted or will enact abortion bans as a result of the decision.

The Republican governors of Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maryland, however, all told The Washington Post they would continue to uphold the right to seek abortions in their states.

Governor Phil Scott of Vermont and Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts both said they were "deeply disappointed" by the decision to overturn Roe. Vermont currently has no time restriction on abortions and Massachusetts allows abortions up to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Scott, who signed a law that codified pregnancy in the state, told the Post that a "woman's right to choose is a principle we will uphold in Vermont." 

Larry Hogan, who opposes abortion himself, also told the Post that he would uphold the abortion laws of Maryland, including a 1992 law that protects the right to have abortions. Maryland allows for abortions up to the point of viability.

Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who described himself as a "pro-choice Governor" told the Post abortion would remain legal despite there being no law codifying it. New Hampshire has no time restriction on abortions.

Representatives for Scott, Baker, Sununu, and Hogan did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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Georgia Democratic nominee for Governor Stacey Abrams explains the change in her position on abortion: There is 'no place in that medical decision for ideology or for politicians'

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 10:43pm
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams speaks to the media during a press conference, May 24, 2022
  • Stacey Abrams said in a CNN interview that she had changed her perspective on abortion rights. 
  • The Georgia gubernatorial candidate was raised in a religious household and grew up being anti-abortion. 
  • She said she understands religious people, but that ideology has no place in medical decisions. 

Georgia Democratic nominee for Governor Stacey Abrams explained in a Friday interview with CNN how her perspective on abortion rights has evolved over the years and how she came to support the right to abortion services after being raised in a religious household. 

"I was very much on the side of anti-abortion, through much of my upbringing. I grew up in Mississippi, in a very religious family, in a religious community," Abrams told CNN host Sara Sidner. "And I was raised to have a very uncritical eye to this question."

She went on to explain she had a change of heart after watching a friend face "the very real consequences" of an unwanted pregnancy that made her question her beliefs about abortion. 

"I understand the sincere concerns. But those are religious concerns, or often concerns driven by personal morality. And that should be your choice," Abrams said in the CNN interview. "But abortion is a medical issue. It is about a medical decision. And there is no place, in that medical decision, for ideology, or for politicians."

Abrams is again running against incumbent Brian Kemp — to whom she narrowly lost the 2018 election — for Georgia Governor. In 2019, Kemp signed into law a controversial "fetal heartbeat bill" which restricted abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and criminalized women who pursued abortions at home or out of state. A federal judge permanently struck down the law in 2020, but it is unclear if a similar law will be passed following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade on Friday. 

"The Governor of Georgia has already said, he does not care about women, and their bodily autonomy. He does not care about their health," Abrams added in the interview. "Because he not only has already adopted and signed into law the most restrictive abortion law in Georgia's history, with the constrictions at six weeks. He has said in interviews that he intends that he also supports eliminating access for incest and rape."

Other Georgia politicians, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and congressional hopeful Herschel Walker have praised the Supreme Court's decision and called for even more restrictive abortion laws in the state. Walker, who is currently running for Senate, said in May the state should adopt a total abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest. 

Representatives for Abrams did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

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What is the Hyde Amendment and how is it related to the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade?

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 9:44pm
People protest the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade abortion decision in New York City, New York, U.S., June 24, 2022.
  • The Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of federal funds for abortions, took effect in 1976. 
  • Following the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, there have been renewed calls to abandon the Amendment. 
  • Biden excluded the amendment from a 2023 budget proposal, but it's unclear if it will be added back. 

Following the Supreme Court's Friday decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, there have been renewed calls from lawmakers and activists to abandon the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision preventing federal funds from being used on abortion services. 

The Hyde Amendment, named for anti-abortion Congressman Henry Hyde who introduced the provision, was passed in 1976, just four years after the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling that established the right to an abortion. The amendment, which prevents federal funds from services such as Medicaid to be used to provide abortions, was mired in legal challenges for its first years, leading to the Supreme Court case Harris v. McRae

In the 1980 Harris v. McRae decision, the Supreme Court held in a 5-4 vote that states participating in Medicaid programs were not obligated to fund medically necessary abortions under the Social Security Act. In the United States, adults with a low income, children, pregnant women, and people age 65 or over are covered by Medicaid services. In 2010, about 45 percent of births in the country were covered by Medicaid.

"The Hyde Amendment is designed to deprive poor and minority women of the constitutional right to choose abortion," Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote in his dissenting opinion. "[F]or women eligible for Medicaid — poor women — denial of a Medicaid-funded abortion is equivalent to denial of legal abortion altogether." 

With the Hyde Amendment in effect, abortions financed by federal Medicaid funds dropped from about 300,000 per year to a few thousand, according to the ACLU

The amendment has been reenacted every year since, with various changes. The 1978 version of the amendment offered new exceptions for rape survivors and incest cases, while later changes expanded the ban to prevent abortion funding from federal worker health plans, women in federal prisons, women in the military and peace corps volunteers.

Public support for federal aboriton funding varies depending on the polling source and how the question is phrased — one 2014 CNN-ORC poll found just 39% of the public favors offering public funding for abortions for women who cannot afford them, while a 2021 Ipsos poll found 54% of people supported Medicaid-funded abortions. 

Over the last several years, Democratic lawmakers including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Ariana Pressley of Massachusetts have called for reversing Hyde Amendment funding restrictions on abortion, citing their disproportionate impact on marginalized women. 

"The Hyde Amendment is a back-end attempt to outlaw abortion that disproportionately denies the right of choice to low-income women and women of color," Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said in a 2020 statement when she and other Congresswomen filed an amendment to repeal Hyde restrictions on funding. "It is critical that we put an end to this inhumane policy now."

Though the amendment was not passed, Democrats in Congress attempted to remove Hyde Amendment restrictions in their government funding bills last year, the Wisconsin Examiner reported, but the terms were added back into the final spending package at the insistence of Republicans. 

Amid continued calls for the removal of the Hyde Amendment, President Biden similarly left such restrictions off his 2023 budget proposal, but it is unclear if they will be added back to the final bill text. 

"We applaud the Biden administration for its recommitment to ending the Hyde Amendment by removing this decades-old policy, which disproportionately harms people of color working to make ends meet, from its budget," Morgan Hopkins, the interim executive director of campaigns and strategies at All* Above All said in April when the budget was proposed, Prism reported. "It's a significant step forward to ending a decades-old policy."

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After calls from AOC and other Dems to expand the court, White House says Biden 'does not agree' with the move

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 9:28pm
President Joe Biden.
  • Democrats called on Biden to take action to ensure abortion remains accessible across the country.
  • A commission created by Biden last year recommended term limits to reform the Supreme Court.
  • WH Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden does not agree with expanding the court. 

As calls for remedies to restrictions on abortion access grow, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Saturday that President Joe Biden "does not agree with" expanding the Supreme Court. 

"I was asked this question yesterday, and I've been asked it before... about expanding the Court. That is something that the President does not agree with. That is not something that he wants to do," Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing on Air Force One.

On Friday, The Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade – the landmark case guaranteeing a right to abortion. Twenty-two states have made it illegal or inaccessible to obtain an abortion.

Democrats have previously called on Biden to endorse legislation that would add more judges to the nine-member Supreme Court in order to offset the current conservative majority. 

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called on Biden and Congressional Democrats Saturday to work on court reforms, including restraining judicial review and expanding the courts. 

—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 25, 2022


Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey also tweeted Friday in support of an expansion of the courts.

Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tina Smith of Minnesota called on Biden in an op-ed published on the New York Times Saturday to declare a public health emergency. The senators wrote that such a declaration would "protect abortion access for all Americans, unlocking critical resources and authority that states and the federal government can use to meet the surge in demand for reproductive health services."

Biden put together a commission to study options for Supreme Court reform in 2021. The commission, made up of legal scholars, recommended term limits for justices in a report published in December.

Jean-Pierre said the President would "continue to look at solutions" on abortion rights and speak to legal scholars, but did not specify what actions Biden would be taking.

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Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams says she's 'appalled' by the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 6:02pm
Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams.
  • Stacey Abrams said she was "appalled" by the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, per the AJC.
  • "We have good people in the state who know this is wrong," she told a group of reporters.
  • Abrams' rematch with Gov. Brian Kemp is set to be one of the highest-profile races in the country.

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams on Friday said she was "appalled" by the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Abrams, who is running in a rematch this fall against Gov. Brian Kemp after narrowly losing to the Republican in 2018, said she was angered by the 5-4 vote that struck down the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the United States and afforded a constitutional right to the procedure.

"This is going to have implications for the health care decisions of women across the state but especially in our rural communities," she told the newspaper, alongside other reporters.

She continued: "If you are in an urban community, we know that you can't simply buy your way out of this. You're going to have to travel 250 miles to try to find some help. And we know for so many Georgians that is not a possibility. I am angry about this decision. I am appalled and I am absolutely committed to pushing back."

The former state House minority leader also said that most Georgians didn't support the ruling.

"We have good people in the state who know this is wrong," she said. "More than half of the state of Georgia disagrees with this decision."

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released in January revealed that 68 percent of respondents did not want to see Roe overturned, while 24 percent would welcome the decision.

Abrams said that if she is elected to serve in the Governor's Mansion, she would be committed to ensuring abortion rights for the women of the state.

"I'm going to do everything I can in this election and beyond to make certain that we can restore the fundamental right to freedom for women in the state of Georgia," she said.

Kemp, who has consistently opposed abortion, praised the court's decision overturning Roe.

"Today's landmark ruling is a historic victory for life," he said in a written statement on Friday. "I hope our law will be fully implemented and ultimately protect countless unborn lives here in the Peach State."

The state law currently allows women to get an abortion for up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

However, the Supreme Court's ruling now creates a pathway for the 2019 anti-abortion bill that Kemp signed into law which would bar most abortions once a heartbeat is detected in the womb, which occurs roughly six weeks into pregnancy.

Many women are unaware that they are pregnant during that short time frame.

GOP state Attorney General Chris Carr on Friday asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to allow the 2019 law go into effect, per the Journal-Constitution.

In 2020, the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia struck down the "heartbeat" law and the state appealed the decision.

It then headed to the 11th Circuit, where the judges heard arguments last September to put the case to the side pending the Supreme Court's decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

On Friday, the high court in a 6-3 decision upheld the 2018 Mississippi law that banned most abortions in the state.

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More than $100,000 raised for loyal Burger King employee of 27 years in GoFundMe campaign after video shows him getting 'goody' bag as reward

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 4:13pm
Kevin Ford's daughter, Seryna, organized the GoFundMe in support of her father.
  • Burger King employee went viral on TikTok for the gift bag he received on his 27th work anniversary.
  • Saturday Night Live alum, David Spade, donated $5,000 to the GoFundMe created by Ford's daughter.
  • "Some people got nothing, so I was just happy to get anything," Ford said in an interview.

Burger King employee Kevin Ford is receiving a flood of donations on GoFundMe after video of a prize bag he received on his 27th work anniversary went viral on Twitter.

—Born_Invincible (@IBC_Yoh) June 19, 2022


Ford has worked as a cook and cashier at the Burger King in the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport for 27 years without missing a day, according to his viral video posted in June.

Although the video gained most of its attention on Twitter, it was originally posted on TikTok. In the clip, he receives a single movie ticket, a Starbucks cup, and some candy in a plastic drawstring backpack.

He refers to the goody bag as a "reward" for his years of loyalty to the franchise. But despite his appreciation for the gift, many online criticized it as lackluster for an employee of almost three decades, Yahoo News reports.

In a TMZ interview, Ford admitted to feeling "let down" by the gesture, but maintained that he was grateful for the recognition. Compared to the monetary gifts employees received before the pandemic, he said he felt the goody bag didn't really measure up.

His daughter, Seryna, created a GoFundMe page following the huge reaction on social media. She wrote, "My dad continues to work here, because though he does look young, he is coming up on retirement age and leaving would cost him his retirement."

Ford took on the job 27 years ago as a single father after he was granted full custody of his two eldest daughters. He continued to work at Burger King to provide health care for all four of his daughters throughout school, according to the GoFundMe description.

Seryna let potential donors know that Ford wasn't in desperate need of financial support, but the money would help him to visit his grandchildren in Texas.

The fundraiser quickly exceeded its original goal, and is continuing to get donations even after hitting $100,000. One notable donor was comedian David Spade who donated $5,000 to Ford and encouraged him to "keep up the good work," TMZ reports.

Burger King addressed the criticism it's received in a statement: "The Burger King brand and its many franchisees nationwide are committed to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the thousands of people serving across a wide range of roles — all dedicated to providing our Guests a world-class experience."

The fast food chain clarified to PEOPLE that the gift in the viral video was a "reward in recognition of a short-term positive performance/experience."

It assured PEOPLE that there is a "robust employee recognition program" for such milestones. 

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Here's what each Supreme Court justice said about Roe v. Wade before they were confirmed

Sat, 06/25/2022 - 4:03pm
Abortion-rights activists hold signs during a Mothers Day demonstration outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
  • The Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision on Friday. 
  • The opinion was supported by five of the conservative judges on the court. 
  • Here's what every judge said about Roe v. Wade during their confirmation hearings. 

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 vote on Friday. 

The opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito and supported by conservative justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, three of whom were appointed by former President Donal Trump.

"Roe was egregiously wrong from the start," Alito wrote in the opinion. "Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division."

The justices' previous statements on Roe v. Wade have come into sharp focus after the landmark reversal. Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin said they were misled by Kavanaugh and Gorsuch.

Here's what each justice said at the time of their nomination. 

Brett Kavanaugh

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by GOP President Donald Trump and took his seat on October 6, 2018.

During his confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh said the decision was an "important precedent" that has been "reaffirmed many times."

Kavanaugh has also said the ruling was "settled law," but signaled he'd be open to overturning settled law, the Washington Post reported. 

—American History TV (@cspanhistory) June 24, 2022

GOP Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin accused Kavanaugh of misleading them during his hearing. 


Neil GorsuchAssociate Justice Neil Gorsuch

Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch was nominated by GOP President Donald Trump and took his seat on April 10, 2017.

Gorsuch, during his confirmation hearing, said Roe v Wade was a precedent that was reaffirmed in subsequent cases. 

"So a good judge will consider it as precedent of the US Supreme Court worthy as treatment of precedent like any other," Gorsuch said. 

He stopped short of saying how he'd rule on abortion if a case was presented in front of him. 

—American History TV (@cspanhistory) June 24, 2022


Amy Coney BarrettAssociate Justice Amy Coney Barrett stands during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.

Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett was nominated by GOP President Donald Trump and took her seat on October 27, 2020.

During her confirmation hearing, she said she'd follow the rules of precedent on issues tied to Roe v Wade. 

"What I will commit is that I will obey all the rules of stare decisis, that if a question comes up before me about whether Casey or any other case should be overruled, that I will follow the law of stare decisis, applying it as the court is articulating it, applying all the factors, reliance, workability, being undermined by later facts in law, just all the standard factors," she said, according to The New York Times

At the time, Barrett sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee revealing that she had signed off on a 2006 anti-abortion ad.

John RobertsChief Justice John Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts was nominated to the Supreme Court by GOP President George W. Bush and was appointed on September 29, 2005.

During his confirmation hearing, Roberts said the 1973 landmark decision was "settled as a precedent of the court." 

"I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent. Precedent plays an important role in promoting stability and even-handedness," he told the Senate at the time. 

—American History TV (@cspanhistory) June 24, 2022


Samuel Alito

Associate Justice Samuel Alito was nominated by GOP President George W. Bush and took his seat January 31, 2006.

During his confirmation Alito said Roe V Wade  was an "important precedent of the Supreme Court," The Washington Post reported. 

However, Alito stopped short of calling the ruling settled law. Alito has previously written a 1985 cover letter where opposed abortion. 

Clarence Thomas

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court by GOP President George H.W.  Bush and took his seat on October 23, 1991.

During his confirmation hearing, he refused to state his opinion on abortion and if Roe v Wade was properly decided, saying it would compromise his ability to impartially rule on similar cases. 

"I think those of us who have become judges understand that we have to begin to shed the personal opinions that we have. We tend not to express strong opinions so that we are able to, without the burden or without being burdened by those opinions, rule impartially on cases," he said, according to NPR



Sonia SotomayorAssociate Justice Sonia Sotomayor sits during a group photo of the Justices at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 23, 2021.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by Democratic President Barack Obama and took her seat on August 8, 2009.

During her confirmation hearing, Sotomayor said the ruling was "precedent and settled." 

—American History TV (@cspanhistory) June 24, 2022


Stephen BreyerSupreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer sits during a group photo at the Supreme Court on April 23, 2021.

Associate Justice Stephen Breyer was nominated by Democratic President Bill Clinton and took his seat August 3, 1994.

During his confirmation hearing, said he believed that the 1973 ruling "is settled law."

"Roe v Wade is the law of this country at least for more than 20 years," Breyer said in 1994. 

—American History TV (@cspanhistory) June 24, 2022


Elena KaganJustice Elena Kagan

Associate Justice Elena Kagan was nominated by Democratic President Barack Obama and took her seat on August 7, 2010.

Kagan also described the landmark decision as settled law. 

—American History TV (@cspanhistory) June 24, 2022Read the original article on Business Insider

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