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Rochester University pressured to fire professor Steven Landsburg over rape comments

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A professor at the University of Rochester who asked why an attacker shouldn’t “reap the benefits” of an unconscious woman is now the target of a campaign to get him fired.

In a March 20 blog post, economics professor Steven Landsburg questioned why raping someone who was unconscious should be illegal if the act caused no direct physical harm. The question was posed along with two other hypothetical questions about pornography and environmentalism.

Landsburg noted the Steubenville rape victim “was not even aware that she’d been sexually assaulted until she learned about it from the Internet some days later,” and added that as long as someone was unaware of the assault, “why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits?”

The group Women Organized to Resist and Defend has launched an online campaign to get Landsburg fired for his comments. The group describes his blog post as a “shocking” attempt “to normalize and minimize the effects of rape.”

In a follow-up post published on Wednesday, Landsburg insisted his question was merely a hypothetical thought experiment, which was meant to provoke discussion about what sort of “psychic harm” should be acknowledged in policy. He described his question as “more idle noodling than anything else, with no good arguments and no conclusions.”

Landsburg found himself facing another backlash last year for comments directed at Georgetown student Sandra Fluke. After conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut,” the professor wrote that a “far better word might have been ‘prostitute.'”

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“She will, as I understand it, be having sex whether she gets paid or not,” Landsburg added. “Her demand is to be paid. The right word for that is something much closer to ‘extortionist’.”

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Elections regulator warns foreign intrusion into US campaigns is already happening

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In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Federal Elections Commission is warning that there is already foreign intrusion in the U.S. campaigns.

FEC chair Ellen L. Weintraub was forced to issue a statement after President Donald Trump said that he wasn't sure what he would do if a foreign government approached him with "dirt" on his political opponent. He said that he "might" tell the FBI but would likely hear what they had to say. He said that it wasn't illegal, but Weintraub issued a statement reiterating that it is illegal.

"I am particularly concerned about the risk of illicit funds and foreign support influencing our political system. Foreign dark money represents a significant vulnerability for American democracy. We do not know the extent to which our political campaigns receive foreign dark money, but we do know that the political money can be weaponized by well-funded hostile powers," the letter warned.

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Trump’s anti-abortion rule attacking Planned Parenthood can go into effect in 49 states: appeals court

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According to the Associated Press, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump's domestic "gag rule" can take effect while litigation proceeds, potentially making it far harder for low-income women to access abortion care.

District judges in California, Oregon, and Washington previously blocked the rule from taking effect. But a three-judge panel in San Francisco today said that the rule was "reasonable" as an interpretation of federal law, and lifted the injunction preventing it from being enforced. The rule can now take effect in every state except Maryland, where another federal judge's order has still enjoined the policy.

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Trump supporter struggles to explain racism towards Muslim neighbor: ‘They were just — walking around’

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In an extensive report by The New York Times, Somali refugees in St. Cloud, Minnesota lamented that they face an absurd amount of racism after fleeing ISIS and a war-torn country.

The story describes a local meeting at the Faith Lutheran Church where a free-flowing discussion about politics, abortion, and more quickly turned to discuss the so-called "refugee problem."

Nearly every person in attendance gave support to President Donald Trump. "Others said that markers of progress were more interpersonal, and they would only be comfortable in their community if the Somali-born refugees converted to Christianity," the Times wrote.

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