It's one thing for Mariska Hargitay to catch fictional rapists in her role as Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: SVU. But Hargitay is taking things a step further with her work to help law enforcement catch real-life rapists.
At a press conference in Detroit today, Hargitay spoke on the problem of untested rape kits, an issue about which she is also producing a documentary. During the conference, Hargitay voiced her support for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy's push for legislation to clear Detroit's backlog of untested rape kits.
"To me, this is the clearest and most shocking demonstration of how we regard these crimes," Hargitay said. "One would assume that if someone endures a four- to six-hour invasive examination, that that evidence would be handled with care."
In 2004, Hargitay also founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, which provides support to victims of sexual crimes. Here's to hoping her star power will help Worthy's office gain the resources it needs to test the backlogged kits.
Watch Hargitay's moving, tear-filled speech below. --Meghan DeMaria
One day after The New York Times published cell phone footage of the moments preceding Keith Lamont Scott's fatal shooting at the hands of police in Charlotte, North Carolina, Chief Kerr Putney of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department announced he would release footage from the dash and body cameras of the officers involved on Saturday. The graphic video is available here via the Charlotte Observer.
Putney said releasing the video would have "no adverse impact on the investigation" into Scott's death, adding that his decision was not influenced by five days of protesters in Charlotte calling for the film to be made public. North Carolina. Gov. Pat McCrory and the mayor of Charlotte both endorsed the decision.
The police chief also said the video has "no definitive, visual evidence" that Scott was armed at the time of his death — a major point of controversy between accounts from police and other eyewitnesses — but maintained other evidence says Scott "absolutely" had a gun when he was killed. Where the gun was located is less clear; an Associated Press report indicates Putney "told reporters on Saturday that officers saw marijuana and a weapon in Keith Lamont Scott's car," as opposed to in his hands.
This post has been updated throughout. Bonnie Kristian
Scientists use wild ant-eating frogs as tiny scouts who are able to search for insects in places people can't go. Then they capture the frogs and carefully make them vomit up the results of their latest explorations. The frogs are released unharmed.
In this case, the frog puke contained a single (and dead) member of the newly identified ant species, Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri. "Sometimes people think that our world is very well explored. Nothing could be farther from the truth," said Christian Rabeling of the University of Rochester, New York, who led a study on the new ant. He added, "The difficulty is finding the ants!" Bonnie Kristian
A New York Times editorial published Saturday announced the paper's official endorsement of Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. The article did not offer a comparison of Clinton to her rival, Republican Donald Trump, instead promising to "explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history."
As for Clinton, the editorial board insisted their rationale centered on her merits — "intellect, experience, toughness, and courage" — and not her position as the sole viable alternative to Trump: "The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump." Clinton should be seen as a realist rather than an opportunist, the endorsement essay argued, running through a record of her accomplishments while dismissing Clinton's negatives as "occasional missteps."
The Times endorsement of Clinton may be striking in its vehemence, but it is hardly unexpected, as the paper has endorsed the Democratic candidate in 22 of 26 presidential elections since 1916. The last time a Republican won the Times' loyalty was Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. Bonnie Kristian
The CEOs of America's 100 largest corporations are universally uninterested in financially backing Republican Donald Trump, an analysis from The Wall Street Journal reveals. However, 11 Fortune 100 CEOs have donated to Democrat Hillary Clinton, a longtime Wall Street favorite.
Among Clinton's high-profile donors from the business world are the leaders of Apple, American Airlines, and Nike. Her Fortune 100 CEO support is double what President Obama received in 2012, when nearly a third of these 100 CEOs backed Republican Mitt Romney and 66 didn't donate to any presidential candidate.
Clinton has also received financial support in the form of donation bundling from social media executives, namely Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. A bundler collects donations on the campaign's behalf and may be rewarded with special access or a position in the new administration should their candidate win. Bonnie Kristian
Republican nominee Donald Trump is a simplistic "moron," rock legend Bruce Springsteen said while speaking in an interview with Rolling Stone to promote his new autobiography.
"Well, you know, the republic is under siege by a moron, basically," he said in the conversation published Friday. "The whole thing is tragic. Without overstating it, it's a tragedy for our democracy." Springsteen went on to critique Trump's connection to "white nationalism and the alt-right movement" before offering a more empathetic analysis of why Trump's candidacy has garnered so much support:
"I believe that there's a price being paid for not addressing the real cost of the deindustrialization and globalization that has occurred in the United States for the past 35, 40 years and how it’s deeply affected people's lives and deeply hurt people to where they want someone who says they have a solution. And Trump's thing is simple answers to very complex problems. Fallacious answers to very complex problems. And that can be very appealing." [Springsteen, via Rolling Stone]
Fellow musician Jon Bon Jovi also took on Trump this week, telling Gigwise, a British music website, that it is "incredible" how Trump can "can lie to you. You tell him here's factually what you said that's incorrect and then he tells it the same [way again]." Bonnie Kristian
Here we go again: Federal agencies on Friday started to prepare for a possible government shutdown beginning Oct. 1, the end of the fiscal year.
Though congressional leaders are working on a 10-week stopgap measure to continue funding the federal government, squabbles over whether that bill should include relief aid to Flint, Michigan, have stalled the process. Thus, "at this time, prudent management requires that the government plan for the possibility of a lapse and OMB is working with agencies to take appropriate action," an Office of Management and Budget official told The Hill.
The last time the government shut down because of a funding gap was in 2013, when nonessential employees were sent home for more than two weeks. Contrary to the suggestion of the term "shutdown," only about 20 percent of federal employees are considered nonessential, meaning roughly eight in 10 — more than 3 million people — will keep working as usual should a shutdown occur. Bonnie Kristian
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the newest Smithsonian museum, opened to the public in Washington, D.C., on Saturday morning. President Barack Obama participated in the opening ceremony, which was attended by thousands and paired with a three-day festival of African-American cuisine and culture on the National Mall.
In comments at a reception honoring the museum Friday night, Obama referenced high-profile police misconduct cases involving black Americans."My hope is that as people are seeing what's happened in Tulsa or Charlotte on television," he said, a visit to the museum will help them to say, "I understand. I sympathize. I empathize. I can see why folks might feel angry, and I wanna be part of the solution."
See comments from Obama and Oprah on the new museum below. Bonnie Kristian
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) September 24, 2016
— Smithsonian (@smithsonian) September 24, 2016