John Oliver: ‘Our Drug Laws Seem a Little Draconian and a Lot Racist’

Clocking in at nearly 18 minutes, the comedian’s recent segment on the broken prison system could be one of his most inspired rants yet. Touching on everything from prison privatization to the inherent racism in the legal system to the fact that America has the “greatest number of prisoners of any country in the world” (an amount equivalent to the size of Slovenia’s entire population), John Oliver doesn’t hesitate to talk about “fact[s] that need to be spoken.”

This time, the “Last Week Tonight” host even got the help of America’s favorite Muppets to drive home his incredibly important point.

(via: TruthDig)

With so many threats to the 250-300 wolverines in the lower 48 states, we must protect them under the ESA.

If you’ve been keeping up with one of the world’s toughest animals, the wolverine, you may know that a big decision is coming their way. In early August, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine whether or not imperiled wolverines in the lower-48 will be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as “threatened.”

The Service previously found that the wolverine warranted ESA protection in 2010 and proposed to list this species as threatened in February of 2013. However, according to a memo that was leaked to the press last week, the Service’s Regional Director based in Denver has now overruled and rejected the Service’s own Field Office’s recommendation to list wolverines as threatened…

Watch John Oliver Explain Why “It’s Your Fault You’re Not Rich” Is Bullshit

by Hannah Levintova

On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, host and comedian John Oliver ripped into American politicians’ colossal mishandling of the US wealth gap, which continues to grow to ever more astronomical proportions. As Oliver points out, plenty of lawmakers insist the game isn’t rigged against the poor — ahem, Marco Rubio — while others recognize the problem but are too afraid to be gung-ho on the issue because of, well, politics.

(via: Mother Jones)

Right now, there is a bipartisan effort in Congress to make the American bison the national mammal of the US. We support this effort because by passing this legislation, the importance of bison will be recognized and help to ensure that this majestic species endures in America.

Will you join us in showing your support for this national symbol?

Urge your representatives to pay tribute to this American icon by supporting the National Bison Legacy Act…

Five justices ignore science in their ruling that companies are not required to provide contraception under Obamacare.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that most private companies are not required to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees, as mandated by Obamacare. Four years after the high court ruled that corporations have free speech rights in its controversial Citizens United decision, the decision gives broad new privileges to corporations, granting them religious rights for the first time…

When one writer suggested that guns can be regulated without anyone’s rights being infringed, he lost his job. Dick Metcalf told his story this morning to a skeptical crowd.

In the column, Metcalf wrote that he did not believe it was an infringement of the Second Amendment to require some training before a person can have a concealed carry. He added that states can have a universal background check law without him feeling infringed upon.

Everything is regulated, but everything is not infringed. Not all regulation is infringement. Is your right to drive a car being infringed by a speed limit?”…

This spectrum (“Left-Right”) stretches from authoritarianism on the one end to authoritarianism on the other, with authoritarianism in between. It makes anything that is not that incomprehensible. It narrows all alternatives to variations on hierarchy, structures of inequality, or profoundly unjust distributions of power and wealth. There are alternatives, and the one I would suggest is this: We should arrange political positions according to whether they propose to increase hierarchy or to dismantle it. Instead of left and right, we should be thinking about vertical versus horizontal arrangements of power and wealth…
Crispin Sartwell, The Atlantic

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee today unanimously rejected a controversial proposal by the Australian government to strip 74,000 hectares of temperate rainforest from a World Heritage Site in Tasmania. In an embarrassing setback for the Australia government, it took the committee less than ten minutes to unanimously reject the proposal, according to the Guardian.

The 74,000 hectares in question were a part of a so-called “peace deal” between environmentalists and loggers in Tasmania, which added 170,000 hectares to an existing World Heritage site. The government contended that much of the forest was degraded, yet experts disagreed. In fact, the IUCN found that 85 percent of the 74,000 hectares was natural forest and nearly half of the whole was old-growth forest. The IUCN recommended that the committee reject the proposal…