In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Racism; guns; death] Goddammit: "The Justice Department is not expected to bring civil rights charges against George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, according to three law enforcement officials, despite allegations that the killing was racially motivated. The federal investigation of Zimmerman was opened two years ago by the department's civil rights division, but officials said there is insufficient evidence to bring federal charges. The investigation technically remains open, but it is all but certain the department will close it." What is most infuriating about this to me is that the threshold for "evidence" for something that is manifestly obvious is absurd. Of course it mattered that Trayvon Martin was black. Of course it did.

[CN: Illness; death] People in the US are extremely concerned about a single case of Ebola, and that is understandable, but also there are five people being infected every hour in Sierra Leone, and we really need to be sending more resources to help address the epidemic there. Also: Nearly 4,000 children in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have been orphaned by the epidemic, and UNICEF "fears the number of orphans could double this month."

[CN: Animal imperilment] An estimated 35,000 walruses have crowded onto a single Alaskan beach because there is not enough sea ice to sustain them. "The extraordinary sighting—the biggest known exodus of walruses to dry land ever observed in the Arctic under US control—arrived as the summer sea ice fell to its sixth lowest in the satellite record last month. 'Those animals have essentially run out of offshore sea ice, and have no other choice but to come ashore,' said Chadwick Jay, a research ecologist in Alaska with the US Geological Survey." There is a further risk to the population if the walruses are spooked and stampede. This is so fucking sad.

In good news: "A program that offered long-acting no-cost contraception to U.S. girls and women age 15 to 19 reduced the teenage pregnancy rate by 79 percent over five years and cut the abortion rate by 77 percent, according to the results of a new study. ...The new study comes from the Contraceptive CHOICE Project conducted in the St. Louis area. It was designed to see if teen pregnancy rates could be brought down by aggressively providing information on contraceptives and offering contraception for free." Huh! Who woulda thunk that education about and access to contraception made a difference in pregnancy and abortion rates? OH ONLY EVERYONE WHO IS PRO-CHOICE EVER? Welp!

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is reportedly trying to convince Jeb Bush to run for president, because Boehner "sees Bush as undeniably the strongest, most viable candidate who could pull the party together after a bruising primary and take on a formidable Hillary Clinton." (Who hasn't announced a candidacy.) Also: George W. Bush thinks his little bro totes wants to be prez. Well, I guess that settles it!

These two restaurateurs are opening a restaurant where they will pay their waitstaff a liveable wage, offer healthcare benefits, and give them some paid vacation days and sick time. That sounds good! They will also ban tipping. Really? Hmm. I think as a customer I'd prefer a "you're not obliged to tip, but you certainly can if you like" model. I dunno. It's not like there aren't plenty of other service professions where people get tipped, even if they're already making a liveable wage.

Here is Gillian Anderson talking about sexism in the entertainment industry. For the record, I would not talk to her about either The X-Files or Jamie Dornan. I would talk to her about how she says brave things about sexism in the entertainment industry.

This may be a useful starting point for you if you've got stray and/or feral cats in your area and want to figure out a way to help.

And finally! This is an amazing and moving video of workers with Animal Aid Unlimited India helping a dog who'd fallen into a pool of tar that had hardened, leaving him stuck to the ground. Dogs are incredibly resilient! (If you can't view the video, there is a story here.)

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