In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today.

[Content Note: Homophobia] In Indiana, Sarah Bray has been prohibited by a hospital from visiting her partner Jennifer Clemmer. The hospital is defending this garbage on the basis that the two women are only "friends," which is a neat trick since same-sex couples are not allowed to be legally married in the state. This is also a violation of federal law, as, in 2010, President Barack Obama signed a memorandum "requiring hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding to grant visitation rights to same sex partners." My friend K, who sent me this link, noted via email (which I am sharing with permission): "I'm not sure about all the legal ins and outs, but in the (highly unlikely) case that the Obama administration needs to make good on its promise to yank Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services funding for this kind of bullshit, it should be interesting. The Franciscan Alliance is huge—14 hospitals throughout Indiana (and the Chicago 'burbs), and 18,000 employees. They can't afford to lose federal funding, but the Obama administration (and Indiana) needs the Alliance every bit as much as the Alliance needs CMS. Which is reason 293,234,941 why it's a shitty idea to rely on private organizations to provide public services."

Forty percent of the undercover operatives in the US National Clandestine Service are now women. Here's a great article in which some of them talk about their experiences and the history of fighting for inclusion. Over at The Mary Sue, Susana pulls an interesting quote from CIA director John Brennan: "We cannot expect the people who look like me to really understand what's going on in far parts of the world… I have obviously lived among women my entire life, but I have not seen the world through a woman's eyes. I have not experienced different things as a woman." Wow!

In, ahh, less awesome news about our clandestine services: The CIA "is secretly collecting bulk records of international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union—including transactions into and out of the United States—under the same law that the National Security Agency uses for its huge database of Americans' phone records, according to current and former government officials." Swell.

Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee to head the Fed, said at her confirmation hearing yesterday that income inequality "is a very serious problem" and that austerity is entrenching that inequality. Love her.

JPMorgan Chase called off its Twitter question-and-answer session after it got zillions of tweets that were either inappropriate or were asking hard questions about the company's business practices. Whoops! In an email, a spokesperson for JPMC wrote: "#Badidea! Back to the drawing board!" Ha ha! Guess they're not too big to fail after all! BOOM.

[CN: Abuse] China has decided to somewhat relax its one-child policy, allowing couples where one parent is an only child to have two children. They have also decided to end their "re-education through labour" program, which is very good news indeed.

[CN: Child sex abuse] Police in Canada, the US, Australia, and elsewhere have arrested hundreds of people in association with a child p---ography ring that spanned across the globe. Six children were rescued.

[CN: Homophobia] Alec Baldwin is a contemptible asshole with an anger problem, who immediately turns to rank misogyny and/or homophobia whenever he loses his shit. This has been a well-known thing about him for years, so I cannot understand why MSNBC decided to give him his own show. Anyway, he's screamed homophobic epithets at another paparazzo. And then he lied about it on Twitter. Will he suffer any professional consequences, or will MSNBC "lean forward" to stick its head in the fucking sand?

In case you were wondering, Hillary Clinton will not be skydiving anytime soon. Thank Maude we've finally got an answer on that searing question!

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