Allegra Kirkland

Modern Life Is a Frightening Experiment in How Much Exposure We Can Take from Toxic Chemicals

Back in 1974, the agricultural multinational Monsanto developed a class of herbicides using glyphosate as the key ingredient. By the 1990s, the company had created corn, soy and cotton seeds genetically altered to resist glyphosate herbicides, meaning farmers could kill weeds without fearing for the health of their crops. Today, Monsanto’s Roundup is the most widely used weed-killer in the world.

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Jon Stewart Crushes Dick Cheney for Misleading the Public About Iran

There are certain politicians Jon Stewart clearly relishes mocking. There’s his southern belle Lindsey Graham impression; Mitch McConnell as slow, bewildered turtle; and as an old-standby, Dick Cheney as evil Sith lord. Stewart dedicated much of last night’s episode to debunking the misleading statements made by Cheney, or as Stewart calls him, a man who is “rotten to his very core, which is in itself a tiny black hole from which no joy or light could escape.”

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Jon Stewart: GOP Rejects Negotiation, Yet Jumps at Chance to Start War

Decades of intervening in conflicts in the Middle East has not taught us much. Last week, the Obama administration reached a “historic outline of a framework of an outline for a potential draft of a prefinal tentative nuclear deal arrangement pending approval” along with five other countries. But GOP congressional leaders have fought the agreement every step of the way, from what they say is concern about the “blowback” and “unintended consequences” such a deal may bring.

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Religion Across the Globe Is Changing, But Not the Way You Think

AlterNet and other progressive news sites frequently publish articles about the decline of Christian hegemony in the United States. While this view is to some extent true, it doesn’t necessarily account for other long-term demographic trends, including population growth and migration. In a new report, The Future of World Religions, the Pew Research Center attempts to round out the picture and look at patterns of faith on a global scale.

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Jon Stewart Gleefully Trashes the Welfare State of Kansas

We associate Kansas with flat dry plains, Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz, heartland America. As Jon Stewart said, Kansas has long been our “standard-bearer for normalcy.” Under the governorship of extreme right-winger Sam Brownback, Kansas can better be understood as an example of what the GOP envisions for our country. Kansas has become a veritable “righttopia,” complete with low taxes, deregulation, and strict limits on social welfare spending. It is a state where gun owners no longer have to take a required eight-hour training course, and which has a long laundry list of establishments where welfare recipients can’t spend their money.

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Jon Stewart Rips Into GOP for Derailing Historic Iran Agreement

The much-heralded historic nuclear agreement between Iran and the U.S. has come to a standstill, to the surprise of pretty much no one. The deal, which would relieve Iran from the crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe as long as it severely restricts its nuclear capabilities and agrees to rigorous inspections, was hammered out over weeks of negotiations. But once Israel and congressional Republicans got involved, all bets were off.

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Meet the Workers Who Are Exploited at $5 an Hour to Make Your Breakfast Sandwiches

On any given night in New York City, while most of us are sleeping, an entire workforce is moving through the streets. They’re taking the elevated 7 train out to Elmhurst, Queens on their way home from late shifts, cleaning midtown office buildings and delivering boxes of fresh produce to cavernous restaurant basements.

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VIDEO: NYPD Officer Abuses Uber Driver in Xenophobic Rant

In a video uploaded to YouTube yesterday afternoon, a New York Police Department officer launches a profanity-filled, xenophobic tirade against an Uber driver. Officer Patrick Cherry, a detective in the joint terrorism task force, spends a full three minutes berating the rattled driver, who appears unsure why Cherry is so upset.

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Feeling Intense Emotions Doesn't Make You Crazy - But That's Not What Big Pharma Wants You to Think

In 2014, a great deal of ink was spilled about the need to stop calling women crazy. Though dismissing women as emotional and irrational is hardly a new phenomenon, a Washington Post op-ed by dating coach Harris O’Malley provided the fodder for a thousand blog posts on the subject. As O’Malley writes, “It’s a form of gaslighting—telling women that their feelings are just wrong, that they don’t have the right to feel the way they do.”

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John Oliver Explains Why April Fool's Day Is the Worst

John Oliver does not like April Fools’ Day. As a matter of fact, he believes that “anyone who claims to be excited for April Fools’ Day is probably a sociopath because what they’re really saying is, ‘I can’t wait to hurt the people close to me!’”

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Jon Stewart Rips Into Fox for Accusing Other News Outlets of 'Rushing to Judgment'

If Fox News is good at one thing, it is self-congratulation. Though progressive watchdog groups like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting devote much of their time to debunking Fox falsehoods, and the Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote in 2010 that Fox should “stop pretending to be an objective news source,” the network clings tightly to claims of journalistic integrity.

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Jon Stewart Takes Democrats to Task for Political Buffoonery

On last night’s episode, Jon Stewart did something that rarely happens in the TV world of “investigative joke-alism”: he followed up on a story he’d previously reported. Stewart checked back in with the confirmation of Loretta Lynch as attorney general, which has been blocked by Republicans because Democrats refuse to pass an anti-sex trafficking bill with an anti-abortion provision.

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How the Vitamin Industry Tricks People Into Shelling Out Millions for Bunk Products

Would you ever pay money for pills containing crushed-up houseplants, powdered rice or fragments of psychiatric medications? If you’re one of the tens of millions of Americans who take dietary supplements, the answer could very well be an unknowing yes.

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This Is Personal: New York Teachers of the Year Take on Governor Cuomo

In an open letter published last month, Empire State teachers blasted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his proposed education reforms. The seven contributors, all of whom have been voted State Teacher of the Year, are furious with Cuomo for pushing a testing-based system that expands charter schools and makes it more difficult for teachers to earn tenure.

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John Oliver Exposes the People Who Are Bilking College Students of Millions

The month-long frenzy of branding and sponsorship known as March Madness is upon us. This college basketball tournament, which now rakes in over $1 billion in advertising revenue, has come to exemplify everything that is wrong with college athletics. As John Oliver put it in this week’s segment on the NCAA, “There is nothing inherently wrong with a sporting tournament making huge amounts of money, but there’s something slightly troubling about a billion-dollar sports enterprise where the athletes aren’t paid a penny.”

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John Oliver Ridicules United States' Racist, Colonialist Attitude Toward Its Territories

Did you know that over 98 percent of people living in U.S. territories are racial or ethnic minorities? Or that 1 in 8 adult residents of Guam are military veterans? Or that the legal justification for the disenfranchisement of the territories is based on a 114-year-old decision that says they are “inhabited by alien races” who “can’t understand Anglo-Saxon laws.”

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5 Ways We Design Our Cities to Make Them Inhospitable to Human Life (Photos)

It goes by many names: hostile, defensive, disciplinary. This style of architecture, which makes use of spikes, barricades, protrusions and checkpoints to prevent society’s unwanted from inhabiting public spaces, is not new. But its forms are proliferating, and it can now be found in urban centers across the globe, from Tokyo to Copenhagen.

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Jon Stewart: Benjamin Netanyahu's Visit Was a 'Festival of Slights'

Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress yesterday served a dual function: shoring up his close relationship with our Republican leadership and giving him a global platform to demonstrate his political power to Israeli voters two weeks before their national elections. It was, as Jon Stewart put it on last night’s Daily Show, “a festival of slights.”

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The Terrifying "Smart" City of the Future

The following is the latest in a new series of articles on AlterNet called Fear in America that launched this March. Read the introduction to the series.

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VIDEO: Chris Hayes Demonstrates Why We Can't Kill Our Way Out of Our War With ISIS

Last week, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf made what would seem on its surface to be a very uncontroversial statement. Speaking of our campaign against ISIS on MSNBC’s Hardball, Harf said, “We cannot kill our way out of this war.” She suggested we address the root causes of terrorist movements, like unstable governments, crippling poverty and lack of education—comments almost identical to those made by George W. Bush at the height of the Iraq War.

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WATCH: Attorney General Calls for Moratorium on Death Penalty

Troy Davis. Carlos DeLuna. Gary Graham. These men, and unknown numbers of others, were wrongfully executed at the hands of the state. Thanks to police investigation errors, mistaken eyewitness testimonies and faulty forensic science, innocent people have languished in prison for years before they were unjustly killed.

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Psychedelic Researcher: How Drugs Like LSD Can Change Your Life

We are currently experiencing a “renaissance” in psychedelic research, as Michael Pollan writes in a recent issue of The New Yorker. Hallucinogenic drugs like psilocybin can be used to treat a range of mental health disorders, from anxiety and addiction to depression, and researchers at the nation’s leading medical schools are intent on discovering their full therapeutic potential.

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WATCH: John Oliver Eviscerates Tobacco Industry Giants

After all the public health campaigns, advertising efforts and parental lectures, it seems Americans have finally gotten the point: smoking cigarettes kills. Smoking rates in the U.S. have dropped from 43 percent in 1965 to 18 percent today.

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Jon Stewart Skewers Right-Wing Officials for Their Astonishingly Backward Take on Gay Marriage

It’s only natural for prejudiced people to dig their heels in when confronted with sweeping change. Despite the fact that gay marriage is now legal in 36 states and Washington, DC, political officials and judges in solid-red states are doing anything they can to prevent LGBTQ residents from obtaining full civil rights.

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5 Most Insane Facts About Maternity Leave in the U.S.

For a country so taken with the idea of “family values,” the United States does a remarkably terrible job at helping people start families. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn’t have a law guaranteeing that new mothers receive paid maternity leave, and only 12 percent of women are granted paid leave by their employers. In most workplaces, paternity leave remains unheard of. Though it is technically illegal to fire workers after learning they are pregnant, it is very difficult to prove the cause of termination, and discrimination against pregnant and nursing employees persists. Nationwide Insurance employee Angela Ames, who was fired last year for taking time to pump milk during the day, was told by her supervisor, “just go home to be with your babies.” Yet in a mind-bending perversion of gender equality, Ames recently lost a sex discrimination lawsuit because judges pointed out that men can lactate too.

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VIDEO: Jon Stewart Has Some Harsh Words for Anti-Vaxxers

In the first month of 2015, 102 cases of measles were documented in the United States. Over 14 states reported outbreaks. So why has this highly contagious, nearly eradicated disease returned with a vengeance?

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Non-Stop Gentrification: 5 More Cities Where Poor Communities Are Being Turned into Rich Ones

When we hear the word gentrification, we think of Google buses gliding through the streets of San Francisco and pre-fab luxury condo towers sprouting up along the Brooklyn waterfront. But gentrification, first defined by British sociologist Ruth Glass as a process in which a neighborhood’s “original working-class occupiers are displaced” by an influx of higher-income new arrivals, isn’t just happening in New York and the Bay Area. A potent combination of rapid private development, soaring rents and property values, and pro-growth public policy is radically reshaping the fabric of cities across the U.S.

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WATCH: Jon Stewart Mocks Cable TV Freakout Over the Snowpocalypse That Wasn’t

After all the frantic news reports, water-purchasing runs and transportation closures, winter storm Juno breezed over New York City, leaving only six inches of snow in its wake. Disappointing though this may have been for schoolkids and people hoping to beg another day off work, no one was more bummed than cable TV reporters who had to stop their breathless reports about the “imminent ice-death of the Eastern Seaboard.”

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How Heroin Became the Face of Drug Addiction in Small-Town America

Like most heroin users, Ory Joe Johnson’s addiction began with a perfectly legal prescription. After a bad car accident in which he broke his nose, jaw, collarbone and ankle, the Wyoming native was prescribed Vicodin for the pain. The meds eventually ran out, but his dependence on them remained. To fuel it, Johnson began dealing drugs, starting with crank (a low-quality powdered form of meth), and as the years passed and his addiction metastasized, eventually moving up to heroin. At the peak of his dealing career, Johnson was funneling drugs to a network of local college students and his reach extended to a constellation of southern Wyoming towns.

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Why Aren’t We Using This Gun Technology That Could Save Hundreds of Children’s Lives?

Every year in the United States, over 7,000 children and teenagers are sent to the ER because of shooting accidents. Another 3,000 die before they even make it to a hospital. These numbers—taken from a recent study by the journal Pediatrics—are horrific, but they’re unlikely to change any time soon. Children have access to guns in their own homes, in the homes of their friends and families, and even, in some states, at shooting ranges. More than one third of all U.S. households have guns, and a study published in the Journal of Trauma found that “children 5-14 years old were more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries, suicides and homicides if they lived in states with more rather than fewer guns.” Put simply: access and exposure to firearms increases the chances that a kid or teen will be involved in an unintentional shooting incident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is one of the leading causes of accidental death for children between the ages of 1-14.

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