Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: War; violence] The situation in Ukraine continues to intensify: "The Ukrainian military launched its first serious offensive to retake [the rebel-held city of Slavyansk], which is being held by pro-Russia militia, early on Friday morning. The rebel militia said Ukrainian troops had launched attacks on several checkpoints. Ukraine's defence minister, Arsen Avakov, said his forces had taken control of nine checkpoints to form a 'tight ring' around the city. Two Ukrainian helicopters were shot down and their pilots killed, both Russian and Ukrainian media reported. One militant was killed and another injured, according to the reports. Ukraine's security service said one helicopter had been brought down by a surface-to-air missile, citing this as evidence that Slavyansk's defenders were not just citizens who had armed themselves."
[CN: Accident; injury] Two hundred passengers were injured when two Seoul subway trains collided today. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or grave injuries. South Koreans are having a rough time of it at the moment. Even for people who don't know anyone involved in either the ferry disaster or this accident, the doubling up of major incidents can be stressful and anxiety-provoking. National tension doesn't get talked about a whole lot, but it's hard to weather for a lot of folks. My thoughts are with the people of South Korea.
Good news in Seattle: The city will "raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour over the coming years under a deal brokered by Mayor Ed Murray and blessed by labor and business groups alike." The bad news is that $15/hour is the best in the nation. And it's still not great.
In other economic and jobs news: "US employers added a robust 288,000 jobs in April, the most in two years," which is good, especially because the jobs added were "broad-based and included higher-paying jobs," and "the unemployment rate sank to 6.3 percent, its lowest level since September 2008," which is not nearly as good as it sounds "because the number of people working or seeking work fell sharply. People aren't counted as unemployed if they're not looking for a job." Our actual unemployment rate remains much higher than the 6.3% number quoted by the Department of Labor.
And relatedly: "Census: U.S. has fewer 'near poor' as many slip into true poverty."
[CN: Guns; violence] Jesus fucking Jones: "[T]he emergence of traps is the latest example of the sort of vigilante justice individuals are attempting to justify under expansive self-defense doctrines." In other words, assholes with guns are setting traps to entice people to burgle them, in order that they might shoot and kill them. The thing that is absolutely terrifying to me about the case of the man who set a purse in view in his open garage is that I can totally imagine seeing a purse sitting out and grabbing it and taking it to the front door, thinking I'm helping someone out. I probably wouldn't wander into an open garage, but the point is that these trap-setting fuckheads might end up killing people who think they're helping. They think they're making the world a better place, but what they're doing is making decent people paranoid.
Tina Brown tells Hillary Clinton not to run for president. Because she's neat like that.
Pope Francis something something progressive something something debate something something wevs.
And finally: LOOK AT THIS SASSY RHINOCEROS CALF!!!