Posts by Conor Skelding, Yahoo! News
About an hour ago, President Barack Obama signed on to the social media website Reddit and stumped for users' votes.
In a post titled "Reddit, this is important," Obama told redditors that "polls will start closing in this election in just a few hours, and I need you to vote."
Like one of the gang, the president dutifully sat for an AMA (that's "Ask Me Anything"), a post where a famous or otherwise interesting person answers questions from users. It was the most popular AMA in Reddit's history.
Reddit's user base is primarily liberal, male 20-somethings, a group that will be especially important today. The youth vote helped Obama carry at least three swing states in 2008 and he is trying to rekindle their enthusiasm this time around, since it appears to have waned.
Image via Reddit
On Tuesday, Jenn Gibbons finished her 1,500 mile row around the perimeter of Lake Michigan, despite being sexually assaulted earlier in her two-month-long journey. She undertook the long row to raise money for her non-profit, Recovery on Water (ROW), a rowing team made up of breast cancer survivors, which promotes exercise as a way of preventing a cancer recurrence. [Full disclosure: Jenn was a coach for my high school crew team, and I volunteered for ROW.]
On July 22, the 27-year-old said she was sleeping alone in her boat in an isolated area of the Lake, when a man crept on board and sexually assaulted her. After contacting the police, Gibbons received extra support to ensure her safety in remote areas and forged ahead with her trip, which helped raise $113,000 for her charity.
Yahoo News caught up with Gibbons on the phone about her social media presence, how she's coping with the assault and how silence can be painful.
After you were assaulted, did you change your social networking behavior?
Have you received any notable support?
Last week, Brigadier General Tammy Smith became the first openly gay officer of flag rank in the United States army. She was promoted in an Aug. 10 ceremony at Arlington at which Brig. Gen. Smith's wife, Tracey Hepner, pinned the star onto her uniform.
"While the [Dept. of Defense] position is that orientation is a private matter, participating with family in traditional ceremonies such as the promotion is both common and expected of a leader," Smith said in a statement. "Looking at the photos of Tracey's joy as she pins the star on my shoulder is a memory that will imprint my heart forever. Her support keeps me Army Strong."
Smith's promotion came just under a year after the repeal of the controversial Clinton-era policy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), which prohibited gays from openly serving in the military.
Smith has "continued to pave the path" for gays in the military, partly by breaking the traditional mold "that you can only rise if you fit it," he says.
Call it a conflict of interest or maybe just a bitter media feud. Wherever the truth lies, one thing is for sure: relations between the liberal magazine The Nation and the conservative online newspaper the Washington Free Beacon have hit a new low.
On July 26th, The Nation's blog posted an article by Lee Fang entitled "Conservative 'Free Beacon' Fronts for Taiwan Lobby." The post claimed that "a lobbyist for a firm dedicated to helping Taiwan advance its policy agenda" is the the key sponsor behind the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon.
Fang charged that Michael Goldfarb, the Beacon's founder and chairman of the 501(c) group which sponsors the paper, is also a partner at Orion Strategies, a lobbying and public relations firm which contracted with Taiwan's ambassador. Orion's consulting, Fang wrote, "has centered on promoting US authorization to sell Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan."
Carrying a gun into a theater doesn't exactly put fellow moviegoers at ease, especially if it comes on the heels of a shooting tragedy in the same vicinity. On Sunday night, Thorton, Colo., police arrested James G. Mapes for openly carrying a holstered firearm into a movie theater, according to the Denver Post. The Thornton theater where the arrest took place is only 25 minutes away from the Aurora theater where James Holmes went on a shooting spree killing 12 people and injuring 58; both cinemas are situated in the Denver metropolitan area.
Fifteen minutes into a showing of "The Watch," a movie in which four suburban guys band together to form a neighborhood watch group and save the world from aliens, Mapes recalled that a woman sitting by him "took a cell phone call and then said aloud that someone in the movie complex was seen carrying a gun." Mapes stood up, walked to the lobby, and raised his hands. Police confiscated the weapon and arrested him.
It's not just news outlets and Twitter feeds keeping the public up to date on the latest developments surrounding the Colorado movie theater shooting that left 12 people dead and 59 injured Friday. Reddit, the site that offers user-generated news links, had many people heavily tracking the story, with strangers obsessively discussing, chronicling and covering details, just like any dutiful journalist would.
But not all redditors were working to establish the facts and build a narrative. Some simply wanted to explain what they saw or read the unedited, eyewitness impressions. Still others were looking for cybersupport from strangers.
1:00 AM We are called and told there is a large shooting with many injured up to twenty people are heading to the ER with shooting injuries -We move patients and bring down surgeons as the ambulances move in
1:30 AM Patients start to show up one has buck shot wounds throughout (nonfatal), another a shooting to her forearm, multiple others, hemodynamically unstable patients brought to OR
Let me know if you have any questions
Click image to view more photos. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Speaking before the NAACP, Attorney General Eric Holder departed from his prepared speech on Tuesday, decrying voter ID laws that have been proposed in 10 states so far. Talking Points Memo reports:
"Under the proposed law, concealed handgun licenses would be acceptable forms of photo ID, but student IDs would not," Holder said. "Many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them, and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them. We call those poll taxes."
Holder isn't the first to say such laws are racist. Benjamin Todd Jealous, CEO and president of the NCAAP, evoked the civil rights movement Monday, comparing the moment to "Selma and Montgomery times." Jealous unilaterally opposed the laws, saying, "Simply put, the NAACP will never stand by as any state tries to encode discrimination into law."
Every summer it seems like a different kind of out-of-control weather pattern decides to strike. In the past month alone, we've experienced deadly Colorado wildfires, early-season heat waves and a wind-whipping hurricane, convincing formerly dubious Americans that climate change is actually real, according to the Associated Press.
Starting this Sunday, California will prohibit the sale or production of foie gras, the rich French delicacy made by a force-feeding ducks and geese. The process, called "gavage," causes a duck's liver to swell many times its normal size, and is considered particularly cruel by animal rights advocates.
"Foie gras is a barbaric product. It never should have existed. It certainly should not exist now in 2012," Bryan Pease, the co-founder of the Animal Protection and Rescue Leage, told Reuters. "Culture, tradition, none of it justifies torturing an animal."
Any restaurant serving foie gras will be fined $1,000.
Restaurants also are taking advantage of this last weekend. Some are organizing "foie gras crawls." One Santa Monica establishment, Melisse, offers a $185, all foie-gras, "Foie for All" prix fixe.