In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Explosion; injury; death. Video may begin to play automatically at link.] A massive explosion has caused a building collapse in East Harlem, as well as a major fire which hundreds of firefighters are working to extinguish. There are conflicting reports at the moment regarding injuries, but it looks like at least a dozen people have been injured, and an anonymous NYPD detective has said one person died. That is still preliminary information, and it may change as the accident site comes under control. (Which is to say nothing of the extensive damage to surrounding businesses that will affect people's livelihoods.) The cause of the explosion is thought to be a gas leak.

[CN: Airline disaster] The search continues for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: "More than 27,000 square nautical miles of sea are being searched in an 'unprecedented' 12-nation effort, officials said Wednesday as the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet entered its fifth day. ...Forty-two ships and 39 aircraft are searching two areas of water—one in the South China Sea, the other in the Strait of Malacca, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters. The search zone is about 35,000 square miles—or almost the size of Indiana. 'We will never give up hope' of finding the missing Boeing 777, he said."

[CN: Sexual assault] A few days after blocking Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's Military Justice Improvement Act, the US Senate has instead approved a competing bipartisan bill authored by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Deb Fischer (R-NE), which "will eliminate the 'good soldier defense' in trials, meaning accused soldiers cannot use evidence of good military character and performance to question an accusation unless it is directly relevant to the crime. The bill will give accusers more power to choose whether their cases go through the military or the civilian system, allow victims to challenge their discharge from the military, increase the accountability of commanders, and extend the changes to service academies. In a case where a prosecutor wants to move forward with a case but a commander does not, the civilian service secretary would have the final say." That all sounds good, but there were key differences between the two bills, and Gillibrand's proposal was a much more meaningful proposal to change the culture of sexual violence in the US military. So no wonder it was blocked. Ahem.

President Obama is seeking "to force American businesses to pay more overtime to millions of workers, the latest move by his administration to confront corporations that have had soaring profits even as wages have stagnated. ...The proposed new regulations would increase the number of people who qualify for overtime and continue Mr. Obama's fight against what he says is a crisis of economic inequality in the country. Changes to the regulations will be subject to public comment before final approval by the Labor Department, and it is possible that strong opposition could cause Mr. Obama to scale back his proposal." As Atrios notes: "The 'strong opposition' will come from the people who brought you decades of stagnant wages." So maybe IGNORE THEM? Just an idea!

This is the third snowiest Chicago winter on record. And there's still more of it to come!

[CN: Racism] Former Republican Vice Presidential nominee and current Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is a fucking racist. Very specifically, he has an ongoing problem with black people, about whom he speaks with contempt in thinly veiled language. He's gross, his party is gross, and fuck him.

[CN: Misogyny; domestic violence] They seem nice: A Republican state lawmaker on Monday made a sexually explicit comment about victims of domestic violence while defending another Republican state lawmaker who claimed some people 'like being in abusive relationships.' In February of last year, New Hampshire state Rep. Mark Warden commented during a hearing on a measure that would have impacted the state’s domestic violence laws that, 'Some people could make the argument that a lot of people like being in abusive relationships.' Warden's comment was denounced by the New Hampshire GOP, which prompted fellow Republican state Rep. Kyle Tasker to jump to his defense on Facebook. In order to 'defend' Warden, Tasker posted an image of two figures meant to be engaging in oral sex with the caption, '50,000 battered women and I still eat mine plain.' Taster added the note, 'This one's for you Mark Warden.'" They're gross, their party is gross, and fuck them.

The Nets will reportedly sign Jason Collins for the remainder of the season, following two 10-day contracts. Yay! (Dear ESPN: The WNBA exists and has out female players. Love, Liss.)

Kristian Nairn, the actor who plays Hodor on Game of Thrones, publicly discloses that he is gay in the greatest way: "Well, in all honesty, when you talk about 'the gay community,' you are talking about MY community, haha. ...I've never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact, and I've been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, cos it's not something you just blurt out. I've tried to lead the questions a few times, to no avail!" Awesome. Totally awesome.

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