Alternate Realities Roundup 8/30 | Buzz Blog

Alternate Realities Roundup 8/30

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Several Syrian activists who documented a chemical-weapons attack died filming the effects of the attack.---

Top of the Alty World

“The Witnesses”--Foreign Policy

Advocates have made progress in requring audits of prisons to track sexual assaults, but now critics point out the audits are being conducted by the American Correctional Association, which has long failed to spot prison-safety issues in the past.--ProPublica

The Department of Justice has said it won't meddle with states that have legalized marijuana.--Mother Jones

The British parliament voted against military intervention in Syria, so why doesn't Congress vote on the issue?--The Nation

Top of Alty Utah

Congressional roadblocks and financial hurdles have left some Utah roads crumbling.--Utah Political Capitol

Sen. Mike Lee received hefty campaign donations from Jeremy Johnson, members of the telemarketing industry, as well as special interests closely tied to embattled Attorney General John Swallow.--Salt Lake City Weekly

A Greek Orthodox special assembly has reinstated clergy salaries.--Salt Lake City Weekly

Five unanswered questions about the chaperone program meant to keep AG Swallow from meeting alone with special interests.--Salt Lake City Weekly

Rantosphere

Bryan Schott says a proposed ballot amendment to keep religious organizations from having to perform same-sex marriages could be a big boost to Republicans in 2014.

“Sixty-two percent of Utah’s population is LDS. Obviously, not all of them are going to vote in 2014, but a constitutional amendment protecting their religion from having to solemnize a practice that goes against their basic beliefs would be a powerful incentive to get out on election day. The low turnout in Utah’s midterm elections in Utah usually favors Republicans, anyway; young voters who might tilt Democratic mostly stay home. Add to the mix social-issue voters, who tend to vote for the GOP, and you’ve got the makings of a big Republican advantage in 2014.”--Salt Lake City Weekly

The Long View

Reporters embedded with Syrian rebels describe a chemical-weapons attack.

“At first, there is only a little sound, a metallic ping, almost a click. And in the confusion of daily combat in Jobar's Bahra 1 sector, this sound didn't catch the attention of the fighters of the Tahrir al-Sham ('Liberation of Syria') Brigade. 'We thought it was a mortar that didn't explode, and no one really paid attention to it,' said Omar Haidar, chief of operations of the brigade, which holds this forward position less than 500 meters from Abbasid Square.

Searching for words to describe the incongruous sound, he said it was like 'a Pepsi can that falls to the ground.' No odor, no smoke, not even a whistle to indicate the release of a toxic gas. And then the symptoms appear. The men cough violently. Their eyes burn, their pupils shrink, their vision blurs. Soon, they experience difficulty breathing, sometimes in the extreme; they begin to vomit or lose consciousness. The fighters worst affected need to be evacuated before they suffocate.”--Le Monde

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