Best-Selling Author Suggests That Child Porn Consumers Are Punished Too Harshly

Some of the headlines you might have missed, neatly summarized.
Amanda Lauren
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Some of the headlines you might have missed, neatly summarized.

Happy Friday! At least it’s happy if you aren’t any of the people I’m discussing in today’s edition of xoNews. In this super depressing installment, I have an update on Ebola. What’s scarier than Ebola? The CDC’s inability to manage the situation…you’ll see what I mean. 

In other news, there’s an interesting story about Vice President Biden’s son getting into a little bit of trouble and a very famous author who made quite possibly the worst public statement anyone can make ever. Hint: He thinks consumers of child pornography are being punished too harshly. No, I can’t make this up. And if you can make it through reading all of this depressing news, there’s some good news too. I saved the best for last.

Questions? Comments? Are you over Ebola? Chat about it in the comments or tweet me @AmandaLauren.

Ebola Update

A second nurse, Amber Vinson, 29, who was treating Thomas Duncan (the Liberian national who died in Texas earlier this month) has been diagnosed with the virus. 

But that’s not quite the worst part of this story. Vinson took a fight from Texas to Ohio last weekend, sharing the plane with 132 other people. So, why would she do that knowing she had been exposed to Ebola and had a raised body temperature of 99.5 Fahrenheit? The CDC told her it was okay to fly before she went.

Vinson’s family released a statement regarding her condition:

Amber is stable, and we are continuing to work with her doctors as her treatment progresses. Amber is a respected professional and has always had a strong passion for nursing. She followed all of the protocols necessary when treating a patient in Dallas, and right now, she's trusting in her doctors and nurses, as she is now the patient. To that end, we ask that the media respect Amber's privacy and that of our family during this overwhelming experience.

As of Tuesday, Vinson is currently being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which has successfully treated two other Ebola patients. 12 people she had contact with in Ohio are currently under quarantine.

Another one of Duncan’s nurses, Nina Pham, who has been diagnosed with Ebola, was being treated in Dallas, but has recently been transferred to Bethesda, Maryland for treatment.

Joe Biden’s Son Discharged From The Navy

On Thursday, it was reported that earlier this year Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, 44, was kicked out the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine. Biden actually failed the test in 2013, but wasn’t discharged until February 14th, 2014. 

So why didn’t the public know about this until now? According to one official, the information was not released to the public because Biden “was treated like any other sailor who fails a drug test and is thrown out of the Navy."

Biden released a statement through his attorney, which read:

It was the honor of my life to serve in the US Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge. I respect the Navy's decision. With the love and support of my family, I'm moving forward.

Biden was commissioned in the Navy Reserves in 2012 as a part-time public affairs officer. Because of his age at the time (he was 42), Biden had to receive a waiver. While it cannot be confirmed, it is highly unlikely Biden received an honorable discharge.

John Grisham Makes Controversial Statements And Then Apologizes

In an interview with the UK’s Telegraph, lawyer and renowned author of books such as "The Pelican Brief," "A Time to Kill" and "The Firm," made several outrageous statements regarding men being unjustly jailed for viewing child pornography.

We have prisons now filled with guys my age, 60-year-old white men, in prison, who've never harmed anybody (and) would never touch a child. But, they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons and went too far and got into child porn. ... They deserve some type of punishment, but 10 years in prison? I have no sympathy for a real pedophile. But so many of these guys don't deserve harsh prison sentences. A friend of mine [from law school], this was 10 years ago, was drinking, and his drinking was out of control. And he went to a website, and it was labeled, 16-year-old wannabe hookers or something, some stupid website. And it said 16-year-old girls. So he went there and downloaded some stuff. It was 16-year-old girls that look 30. He shouldn't have done it. It was stupid. But it wasn't 10-year-old boys, and he didn't touch anything.

Clearly, Grisham’s statement caused a stir. So, he issued an apology the very next day.

Anyone who harms a child for profit or pleasure, or who in any way participates in child pornography -- online or otherwise -- should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. My comments made two days ago during an interview with the British newspaper The Telegraph were in no way intended to show sympathy for those convicted of sex crimes, especially the sexual molestation of children. I can think of nothing more despicable. I regret having made these comments, and apologize to all.

HBO Go Is A Go!

While there has been a lot of talk about consumers “cutting the cord” by forgoing cable or satellite television in favor of streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus, etc, with a Roku box or Apple TV, networks have not actually cut the cord themselves, until now. HBO announced their popular service HBO Go, which comes free with a subscription to the channel, (or free if you know someone’s password), will be available as a stand alone service, meaning you don’t need to subscribe to cable or regular HBO to have access to the web-only service. It will be available starting in 2015. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Richard Plepler, Chief Executive of HBO said:

…a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO. So, in 2015, we will launch a standalone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States.

Shortly after HBO made their announcement, CBS announced their own streaming-only service called CBS All Access. For $5.99, you will be able to stream all current CBS show as well as some old favorites including "Cheers" and "Twin Peaks." Unlike HBO Go, CBS All Access will not be ad-free.


• The cause of Joan Rivers’ death was announced on Thursday. The legendary comedienne died from hypoxic arrest during her throat procedure, which means the oxygen to her brain was cut off. The medical examiner called it a “predictable complication.”

• Charice Pempengco of "Glee" discussed gender identity with Oprah in a recent interview. Charice told the talk show host, “I’m not exactly transitioning to a male, but basically my soul is like male. But, I'm not going to go through that stage where I'm going to change everything -- not change my body. I would change, like this look, cut my hair and wear boy clothes and everything, but that's all.”

• This week, singer Afroman -- who you remember from his 2001 hit, “Because I Got High” -- released a new version of the song to promote the benefits of marijuana legalization.