(Source: CNN)

A boy sits in his uncle's home April 21 in Owsley County, Kentucky, where 44.5% of residents live below the poverty line.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that the unemployment rate fell to 8.2%. That should have been a signal that jobs are coming back and that the economy is about to rebound. But, as many economists say, the numbers fell primarily because unemployed Americans have become so discouraged with trying to find a job that they’ve simply quit looking. Read the rest of this entry »

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(Source: US News)

Women graduate from Kettering University in Flint, Mich.

As the general election approaches, President Obama and Mitt Romney are working to win over every voting bloc they can. Most recently, the two candidates have been ardently courting the women’s vote and those still carrying student loans. It might be worth the candidates’ worthwhile to lump the two voting blocs together.

Women receive a majority of the bachelor’s degrees granted in the U.S., attending largely the same institutions and paying the same tuition rates for their undergraduate degrees as men. Given the pay gap between genders, there is a question worth asking: Since women are both concentrated in lower-paying jobs and almost universally earn less than their male co-workers, will they have a tougher time paying down their student loan debt? Read the rest of this entry »

(Source: The Tennessean)

Summit High School sophomore Jeff Shott has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship for dressing like Jesus Christ on fictional character day.

The Spring Hill student was not disciplined for his action back in January, but Summit High Principal Charles Farmer did advise him that if the costume caused distraction during the day that he would have to remove it, school officials say.

Shott voluntarily removed his robes and sash, a costume that included a hammer and nail.

“Both principals said they were worried my costume would spark religious debates in every class and take up large amounts of time. I was sternly warned that if even one teacher reported the slightest disruption, I would have to take off my costume. Then and there, I decided to take it off,” Shott wrote in a letter to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national organization devoted to promoting the separation of state and church. The group ended up awarding him a scholarship. Read the rest of this entry »

(Source: Macleans)

Neither he nor she

In Sweden the phrase “his and hers” isn’t just archaic or politically incorrect, it’s grammatically incorrect too. The country’s online National Encyclopedia was recently updated to include a third pronoun to accommodate the rising trend of gender neutrality in Sweden. The pronouns for “he” and “she” (in Swedish “han” and “hon”) are now joined by the genderless pronoun “hen.

But the change isn’t just linguistic. In 2010, the World Economic Forum declared Sweden the most gender-neutral country in the world, and gender neutrality is changing Swedish culture in profound ways. A children’s department store has dissolved its “girls” and “boys” sections, and a number of Swedish activists are lobbying for the right of parents to name their children across gender lines. “The idea,” writes author Nathalie Rothschild, “is that names should not be at all tied to gender, so it would be acceptable for parents to name a girl Jack or a boy Lisa.” Read the rest of this entry »

(Source: CNN)

Charles Williams had planned to become a ROTC teacher after he left the military, but became a disabled veteran after an RPG attack in Afghanistan.

Charles Williams had planned to become a ROTC teacher after he left the military, but was wounded by an RPG attack in Afghanistan.

After more than a decade of continuous warfare, the cost of disability compensation for wounded veterans is surging to mammoth proportions.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year. That’s up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. Read the rest of this entry »

(Source: BBC News)

Chen Guangcheng (file photo 2006)
Blind activist Chen Guangcheng exposed the harsher side of China’s family planning policies.

Blind since a young age and a self-taught legal activist, Chen Guangcheng rose to prominence for helping to expose harsh realities about China’s family planning policies.

His activism landed him in jail between 2006 and 2010 but even after he was released, Mr Chen and his family have been under virtual house arrest at his home in Shandong province.

He escaped from house arrest on 27 April 2012 and while his whereabouts remain unclear, the implication is that he is at a diplomatic mission in Beijing. Read the rest of this entry »

(Source: Baltimore Sun)

Women make considerably less money than men in Maryland: 83 cents to the dollar, according to a study released last week.

Windsor Mill resident Alison Assanah-Carroll was not surprised by the finding from the National Partnership for Women & Families, which showed that nearly a half-century after the federal Equal Pay Act was enacted, women are still paid less than men, not only in Maryland but nationwide.

“It’s not just a grave disparity, it’s a travesty,” said Assanah-Carroll, a former assistant regional census manager, who said that she earned less than her male counterparts even though she had better educational credentials and, in some cases, more experience. Read the rest of this entry »

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