(Infowars/Twitter and Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for Thurgood Marshall College Fund)

Earlier this month a slew of social media platforms including iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify and Pinterest, banned Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory promoting website InfoWars. While Jones claims it violates his right to free speech, the platforms bowed to mounting public pressure to enforce the requirements of each company’s own terms of service (TOS).

Twitter now joins them, at least temporarily.

Keep reading...
XI'AN, CHINA - 2018/05/30: A girl drinks a Starbucks coffee with a plastic straw. Starbucks announced on July 9th that it would ban the use of plastic straws in its 28 thousand stores before 2020. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A new effort to reduce pollution has been trending on a national scale. Recently, companies like Starbucks have announced policies intended to reduce the production and use of plastic straws. While the full effect of this policy won't be felt until 2020, Starbucks estimates that the move will eliminate more than 1 billion straws globally, most of which currently end up in landfills.

Last year, a video showing a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck up its nose went viral. In the aftermath, campaigns like #StopSucking—an effort to free oceans from plastic waste—have gained notable traction. In addition to Starbucks, many local municipalities and communities are likely to follow suit with their own bans. According to CNN, American Airlines will be eliminating plastic straws on its flights, in favor of stir sticks.

Keep reading...

Five active transgender members of the U.S. military represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed the first lawsuit Wednesday against President Donald Trump, challenging his proposed ban on transgender people serving in the armed forces in any capacity. Trump made the announcement in a series of tweets last month.

Keep reading...

Ohio state lawmakers have passed a controversial measure that would prohibit women from having abortions from the moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected (which usually occurs about six weeks into pregnancy). House Bill 69––the "Heartbeat Bill" which would make an exception in the event the mother's life is in danger but no exception in cases of rape or incest––now heads to the desk of Governor John Kasich for his signature. The bill, should it pass, would be one of the toughest restrictions on abortion nationwide.

The Ohio Legislature sent the bill to Kasich's desk on Tuesday after considerable legislative maneuvering. Republican legislators added the bill's language last minute to House Bill 493, a bill revising state child abuse and neglect laws. The Senate voted twice: First, they approved 20-11 the decision to include the "Heartbeat Bill" language in HB493. Senators then passed the bill with a 21-10 vote after they approved the amendment. Once the bill went back into the House, senators approved the revised bill 56-39. In a statement, Senator Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander) said "we are a pro-life caucus" and signaled that passing the legislation "demonstrates our commitment to protecting the children of Ohio at every stage of life."

Keep reading...

[DIGEST: NPR, USA Today]

Today, the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming has decided to punish Olympian Ryan Lochte for the scandal which erupted after he alleged that he––and fellow Olympic swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen––were the victims of a violent robbery in Rio de Janeiro after leaving a party on August 14. Authorities later deemed the claims to be false. Both organizations announced they would impose a 10-month suspension on Lochte, barring him from domestic and international national swim team competitions through June 30, 2017. Lochte will be unable to compete in the 2017 national championships and his punishment disqualifies him from competing in the 2017 FINA World Championships. Conger, Bentz and Feigen received four-month suspensions.

Keep reading...

In a bold move toward pollution control, San Francisco has just become the first city in America to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, a move that is building on a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry.

Over the next four years, the ban will phase out the sales of plastic water bottles that hold 21 ounces or less in public places. Waivers are permissible if an adequate alternative water source is not available.

Keep reading...