In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War] In other military news, the Obama administration traded five Guantanamo Bay detainees for a US soldier, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, held hostage in Afghanistan, a decision which is now being criticized on several fronts. Republicans are (of course) accusing President Obama of negotiating with terrorists, and some members of Bergdahl's unit are angry because they accuse him of being a deserter whose desertion risked and cost lives. Obama's response to some criticism is here. Hillary Clinton was also asked about the deal, and gave what I think is a pretty decent response about difficult choices. The Obama administration was in a tough spot on this one. To leave Bergdahl to languish as a prisoner of war if there was a chance to rescue him, irrespective of how he was captured, would not have been ideal, and to rescue him with this exchange is not ideal. But the latter seems like the better of two imperfect options.

[CN: Car accident; death] Grace Garcia, the executive director of the Texas Democratic women-in-politics group Annie's List, co-founder of the National Latina Political Action Committee, and former senior adviser to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Office of the Chief of Protocol, was killed in a car accident yesterday. A tremendous loss. My condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues.

[CN: Natural disasters; misogyny] Whut: A study done by researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State University has found that "female-named storms have historically killed more because people neither consider them as risky nor take the same precautions." I am pretty dubious about these findings, without having seen the study or its methodology, but I do want to highlight this observation by Sharon Shavitt, study co-author and professor of marketing at the University of Illinois: "People imagining a 'female' hurricane were not as willing to seek shelter. The stereotypes that underlie these judgments are subtle and not necessarily hostile toward women—they may involve viewing women as warmer and less aggressive than men." Uh, positive stereotypes are not un-hostile. They are just as dehumanizing via monolithization as are negative stereotypes—and just as dangerous, if the findings of this study are indeed accurate.

[CN: Carcerality; sexual violence] Rage. Seethe. Boil. "Complying with federal standards designed to prevent incarcerated people from being raped is too expensive, according to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R). So Pence informed the federal Justice Department that his state will not comply with these anti-rape standards." This fucking state.

[CN: Homophobic slur; rape culture] Charming: Actor Jonah Hill, star of the date-rape classic Superbad, shouted a homophobic slur at a paparazzo and told him to suck his dick. He's very sorry, though. Sure. You know how you're so sorry after you get angry and shout violent bigotry at someone by accident?

And finally! Here is a nice story about a therapy dog who was honored at the graduation ceremony of her companion Paul Aragon, a retired US Army sergeant who has PTSD after serving three tours in Iraq. "Zoey is a lifesaver." Blub.

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