In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Earthquake; death; injury] As the death toll in Nepal from the devastating earthquake that hit over the weekend passed 5,000, aid is finally beginning to reach remote regions, where "many survivors are in desperate need of food and water." Among the grim reports, there are some bits of good news: Rishi Khanal was rescued alive after spending more than 80 hours buried in rubble, and a 4-month-old baby was rescued after nearly a day trapped in a collapsed building. The rescue effort continues, even though hope for survivors dims the more time passes and the focus increasingly changes to getting food, water, and healthcare to survivors.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited with President Obama yesterday, during which Obama said: "Today is also a chance for Americans, especially our young people, to say thank you for all the things we love from Japan. Like karate and karaoke. Manga and anime. And, of course, emojis." To which I can only presume Abe replied: "And we'd like to thank you for Beyoncé and bourbon and McDonald's." I feel that this vaguely inappropriate nod to the US' infatuation with Japanese pop culture was a real missed opportunity to thank Japan for Ninja Warrior.

[CN: Worker exploitation] Here is a complete transcript of their shared remarks, the most notable part of which is their enthusiasm for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Which Senator Bernie Sanders explains in the Guardian is a continuation of trade policies that hurt workers, both in the US and abroad. It'll be great for corporations, though!

[CN: War on agency] Chip, chip, chipping away at Roe in Virginia: "The Manassas, Virginia, city council on Monday approved an ordinance that abortion access advocates say would threaten to close the city's lone abortion clinic. The measure would reclassify women's health centers, among other medium-sized clinics—larger than dentist offices but smaller than hospitals—as medical care facilities. That change would require those clinics have special use permits, granted only after a public comment period and city council approval. Opponents of the measure contend that requiring abortion clinics to get the backing of the city council, currently controlled by Republicans, will be virtually impossible, effectively prohibiting any clinics from opening or relocating within the city limits." Rage. Seethe. Boil.

[CN: Death penalty; torture; video may autoplay at link] Today, the US Supreme Court is hearing a death penalty case "filled by several death-row prisoners in Oklahoma ... exactly one year after the botched execution of an inmate there reignited debate over capital punishment and triggered a federal review of protocols nationwide. The specific issue is the sedative midazolam and the question of whether it puts condemned inmates into a coma-like state before two other drugs are given and protects them from the kind of pain that would violate the Eighth Amendment restriction on cruel and unusual punishment." I wish I had any hope at all that the Court will outlaw the death penalty, but I don't. I desperately hope I'm wrong.

[CN: Homophobia; misogyny] Speaking of the Supreme Court... In case you missed it, here is Justice Ginsburg eviscerating the case against marriage equality in six sentences yesterday: "[Same-sex couples] wouldn't be asking for this relief if the law of marriage was what it was a millennium ago. I mean, it wasn't possible. Same-sex unions would not have opted into the pattern of marriage, which was a relationship, a dominant and a subordinate relationship. Yes, it was marriage between a man and a woman, but the man decided where the couple would be domiciled; it was her obligation to follow him. There was a change in the institution of marriage to make it egalitarian when it wasn't egalitarian. And same-sex unions wouldn't—wouldn't fit into what marriage was once."

[CN: Misogyny] Without a trace of irony: "Speaking during his weekly general audience, Pope Francis asked that Christians 'become more demanding' about achieving gender equality, according to the National Catholic Reporter. 'Why is it expected that women must earn less than men?' he asked the crowd at St. Peter's Square. 'No! They have the same rights. The disparity is a pure scandal.'" Says a man whose job literally cannot even be held by a woman.

[CN: Class warfare; financial insecurity] A new study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Northwestern Mutual found that one-third of USian respondents have no financial plan for our futures. Which is the same finding as a different survey done last year. And I'll say the same thing I did then: It's not like most of these people could be saving for retirement (or a rainy day, or whatever) and are just choosing to be capricious. It's impossible to save if you need every penny you've got just to survive in the here and now.

This is a really nice story about a young man with autism whose life was changed by a rescued dog. (I just want to note that Autism Speaks is quoted in this article, and that there is some implication that people with autism should be "fixed." I'm sharing the story because of the young man talking about how much happier he is because of his puppeh BFF. And no doubt his furry friend is happier now, too!)

[CN: Fire] This hero cat alerted his owner to a fire in their apartment building, which in turn led to all the residents getting out safely. Good kitty!

And finally! A homeless dog rescues a member of his foster family from a rattlesnake and secures himself a forever home. Blub.

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