In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Reporting of birth name at link] The US military has "approved hormone therapy for Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst convicted of leaking national security secrets to WikiLeaks, to make the transition to a woman, a media report said Thursday. The decision is said to mark the first time the military has agreed on providing such treatment to any of its personnel. ...'After carefully considering the recommendation that (hormone treatment) is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I approve adding (hormone treatment) to Inmate Manning's treatment plan,' [Col. Erica Nelson, the commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks] wrote in a memo, obtained by USA Today." One suspects that Nelson also carefully considered that Chelsea Manning was also just announced as a contributing opinion writer for the Guardian. Still: Good news, and good precedent for other trans* servicemembers without Manning's platform.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Congratulations to $564M Powerball Jackpot winner Marie Holmes, 26, a mother of four, including one child with cerebral palsy, who was recently "forced to quit her jobs at Wal-Mart and McDonald's to care for her four children." She said: "I thought I was going to have a heart attack when I saw the ticket and checked it." Winning the lottery can be a blessing and a curse, for a whole lot of reasons, so I wish her the absolute best and hope that it is, on balance, a great thing for her family.

Ashton B. Carter has been confirmed as Secretary of defense, replacing Chuck Hagel, who resigned late last year. I literally cannot read that guy's name without seeing "Ashton Kutcher." Dude, where's my Pentagon?

[CN: War; terrorism] Cameroon is deploying more troops to its border with Nigeria "after Boko Haram militants kidnapped another 11 people. Scores more have been taken or killed in the last three weeks." Meanwhile: "Boko Haram fighters attacked a village in Chad on Friday, the first known lethal attack in that country by the Nigerian militant group, which killed several people including a local chief according to residents and security forces. Dozens of militants arrived by motorised canoe at the fishing village on the shores of Lake Chad early in the morning, setting houses ablaze and attacking a police station. 'They came on board three pirogues and succeeded in killing about ten people before being pushed back by the army,' said a resident of the village of Ngouboua." It is scandalous how little media coverage this is getting in the United States.

[CN: Racism; police brutality] Yesterday, FBI Director James B. Comey gave a speech to students at Georgetown University in which he "addressed 'hard truths' about policing, acknowledging racial bias among law enforcement officers and lamenting a 'disconnect' between police agencies and communities of color." Well, good. Give him a cookie. Now what are you going to do about it, sir?

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is delightful: "We now know why it appears that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared to fall asleep during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last month... In a lighthearted moment before an audience at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, the 81-year-old Ginsburg cracked up telling the story that she 'wasn't 100 percent sober' before going to the State of the Union. 'The audience—for the most part—is awake because they're bobbing up and down all the time and we sit there stone-faced, sober judges,' Ginsburg said. 'At least I wasn't 100 percent sober because before we went to the State of the Union we had dinner.'"

[CN: Rape culture] Normally, I wouldn't even bother sharing anything that Rush Limbaugh disgorges from his repulsive mouth-hole, but his latest is advising Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to say he dropped out of college to avoid rape charges: "They're trying to create this rape culture on the campus—well, (he should say,) 'I quit because I don’t want to be accused of rape down the road.' ...It seems like any man that goes to college could randomly be accused of committing rape. ...So (Walker should say,) 'I wanted to remove myself from this culture that might have turned me into this very mean guy,' and just see what they say. Cram what they believe right down their throats." It doesn't matter that it's not true. At all. That Walker didn't leave for those reasons. Not only do rapists lie; rape apologists lie, too.

And finally: THIS KITTY IS SO NAUGHTY! And it is hilarious!

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