Over the unexplained objections of 30 Republican Senators, an anti-rape amendment authored by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) became law Monday with President Obama’s signature on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010.
The provision was sparked by the gang-rape of a 19-year-old Kellogg, Brown & Root employee by her coworkers in Iraq. After returning to the United States, Jamie Leigh Jones found she couldn’t sue the company because of a clause in her employment contract.
Franken’s amendment to the Defense Appropriations Act prohibits companies from using employment contracts to bar litigation over sexual assault or discrimination.
When the Senate took up Franken’s measure, 30 Republicans voted against it. None cared to explain why, with some suggesting it’s simply not the government’s business to rewrite employment contracts.
In an especially well-publicized confrontation, a tearful Jones asking Senator David Vitter (R-LA) why he wouldn’t support the amendment. He simply walked away.
The group of Senators eventually become a target of a satirical Web site called “Republicans for Rape.”
It was also opposed by the Obama administration and the Department of Defense, though the president declared that he supports the “intent” of the amendment.
The administration came around to supporting the amendment after two key changes were made. “The restriction will only apply to companies whose contracts with the government amounts to $1 million or more (which includes most defense contractors),” noted Talking Points Memo. “It can also be waived for national security concerns — but the secretary of defense will have to personally explain the waiver.”
Impressionism’s ‘forgotten woman’ shines in new Paris show
The first major show of Berthe Morisot's paintings in France in nearly 80 years puts the forgotten woman of Impressionism back at the centre of the movement she helped found.
One damning review of the first exhibition by the group that would revolutionise art blasted that it was no more than "five or six lunatics of which one is a woman ...[whose] feminine grace is maintained amid the outpourings of a delirious mind."
That 1874 show included such soon-to-be art giants as Monet and Manet, whose brother Eugene later married Morisot.
Scientists find earliest clues of Parkinson’s in brain
Scientists said Thursday they had found the earliest signs of Parkinson's disease in the brain years before patients show any symptoms, a discovery that could eventually lead to better screening for at-risk people.
Parkinson's, a neurodegenerative disorder that causes patients movement and cognitive problems, is estimated to effect up to 10 million people worldwide.
It is diagnosed by a build-up in the brain of a specific protein, a-synuclein, the cause of which is unclear.
However some people are born with a genetic mutation that makes them almost certain to develop the disease at some stage in their life.
‘Out of his depth’: Trump holding back on Iran because he understands it’s harder than ‘swinging’ at a primary foe
During a discussion on news that Iran has shot down a U.S. drone over international airspace on CNN, New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman explained that Donald Trump is in no rush to respond militarily because, for once, he knows he's "out of his depth."
Speaking with hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota, Habermann said that the president will likely get advice from national security adviser John Bolton to push back militarily, but that Trump doesn't seem interested in taking on as large a task as going to war.
"He usually responds to a provocation when it's a smaller thing that he can punch and knock down," Haberman explained. "He's pretty aware he can't actually do that with Iran. So I don't think you're going to see the typical, you know, as if he were swinging back at a primary foe. I think he is going to actually be a little more careful in what he says."