In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

President Obama has nominated longtime senior Pentagon official Ashton Carter to replace Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense. I literally cannot stop seeing "Ashton Kutcher" every time I read a story about this guy. "Dude, where's my drone?"

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism] And again: "Protesters demanded Thursday night that Phoenix police identify the officer who shot and killed an unarmed black father of four children, in a confrontation that critics and community members likened to the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. About 100 people marched to police headquarters a day after the department strongly defended the decision by the officer who shot 34-year-old Rumain Brisbon, who friends and family said was simply delivering dinner to his children, on Tuesday night."

[CN: Police brutality; racism] My pal Dan Solomon has written a good piece for Texas Monthly noting that police body cameras can only ever be one tool among many tools and strategies needed to meaningfully address this problem. After all, more evidence only matters if the people reviewing that evidence are invested in making sure it matters.

[CN: War on agency] Tara Culp-Ressler compiles "7 Victories for Reproductive Freedom You May Not Realize Happened This Year."

[CN: Transmisogynoir; violence] Police are investigating "the death of a 21-year-old transgender woman who was gunned down while pounding on the front door of a South L.A. home seeking help. Deshawnda Sanchez, known as 'Tata,' was shot around 4 a.m. Wednesday on the front porch of a home near South Wilton Place and West 62nd Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department." It was not, as in the case of Renisha McBride, the homeowner who shot Tata, nor, as in the case of Jonathan Ferrell, the police who shot her. "A neighbor's surveillance camera captured part of the incident, which showed someone pulling up to the house in a vehicle, getting out and running up to the porch. The figure could then be seen running back to the vehicle and driving away, police said. ...Detectives believe S"anchez was running away from a robber when she was shot, but said they were not ruling out other scenarios." They are considering the murder a possible hate crime.

[CN: Transphobia; appropriation] Um: "One of the founding members of the iconic band The B-52s is back with a very queer new single. Kate Pierson is slated to release a solo album, called "Guitars and Microphones"... In anticipation of this release, Pierson dropped her first single and video for 'Mister Sister'—a track that she is dubbing a 'trans[gender] anthem.'" Nope! [H/T to Eastsidekate.]

"Romney's Inner Circle Is Convinced He's Running." Well, Romney's inner circle was also convinced he was winning, so.

[Note: Video autoplays at link] ChescaLeigh: "5 Tips for Being an Ally." So great.

NASA's Orion capsule, a spaceship designed for a future Mars mission, had a perfect test run: Orion "made a near-bullseye splashdown in the Pacific Ocean on Friday, wrapping up a flawless, unmanned debut test flight around Earth. The Orion capsule blasted off aboard a Delta 4 Heavy rocket, the biggest in the U.S. fleet, just after dawn from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Three hours later, it reached peak altitude of 3,604 miles (5,800 km) above the planet, a prelude to the most challenging part of the flight, a 20,000-mph (32,000 km/h) dive back into the atmosphere. Orion survived a searing, plunge through the atmosphere, heating up to 4,000 degree Fahrenheit (2,200 degree Celsius)—twice as hot as molten lava—and experiencing gravitational forces eight times stronger than Earth's. Over the next few minutes, a total of 11 parachutes deployed to slow Orion's descent, including three gigantic main chutes that guided the spaceship to a 20-mph (32 km/h) splashdown 630 miles (1,014 km) southwest of San Diego, California, at 11:29 a.m. EST (11:29 EST). 'I think it's a big day for the world, for people who know and like space,' NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said before the launch." Heck yeah it is! Neat!

A letter to my cat: Dear Vastra. All the blubs.

You probably won't read a headline better than this today: "Firefighter Nicknamed 'Dr. Doolittle' Saves Dog That Fell Through Ice." Yes!

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