In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

This guy again: "J. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the history of the U.S. House, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges that he violated banking laws in a bid to pay $3.5 million to an unnamed person to cover up 'past misconduct.' Hastert, who has been a high-paid lobbyist in Washington since his 2007 retirement from Congress, schemed to mask more than $950,000 in withdrawals from various ac­counts in violation of federal banking laws that require the disclosure of large cash transactions, according to a seven-page indictment delivered by a grand jury in Chicago." I'll just quote my pal Jamison Foser: "That time nine years ago I told you maybe Denny Hastert was corrupt, and maybe the media should pay attention."

UPDATE: [CN: Sexual abuse] The "past misconduct" Hastert is alleged to have paid to cover up is sexual abuse dating back to his time as a high school wrestling coach and teacher. I suspected this was the case, because there have been rumors about this in Illinois for many, many years. And I'm angry and sad that those rumors appear to be true.

From Gallup's latest polling: "Half of Americans consider themselves 'pro-choice' on abortion, surpassing the 44% who identify as 'pro-life.' This is the first time since 2008 that the pro-choice position has had a statistically significant lead in Americans' abortion views."

More normalization of relations with Cuba: "The United States has taken Cuba off the list of state sponsors of terrorism, a step that authorities in Havana had insisted upon in advance of the reopening of embassies. ...Removing the terror designation lifts some trade barriers against Cuba, but an overall embargo remains in effect and requires a congressional vote to reverse it. President Obama has said he hopes to work with Congress to get the embargo lifted."

[Content Note: Misogyny; reproductive coercion] What the everloving fuck: "United Bible Fellowship Ministries, Inc., which provides housing and care to people with disabilities, will have to pay a former employee $75,000 for firing her after she became pregnant to settle a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The organization has had a 'no pregnancy in the workplace' policy in place that meant it fired anyone who became pregnant and refused to hire anyone applying for a position while pregnant. It admitted that the former employee, Sharmira Johnson, performed her job as a resource technician providing care to residents well and didn't have any medical restrictions that would keep her from carrying out her duties. Yet it fired her, arguing it was justifiable in order to ensure her safety, that of her unborn baby, and the safety of its clients."

[CN: Transphobia] Here is a list of US insurers who offer some transgender healthcare coverage. That doesn't do a fuck of a lot of good for trans* people who don't have insurance, or have insurance but no provider choice. In a decent country, in which trans*-related healthcare was considered basic, routine healthcare, as it should be, it wouldn't be legal to refuse to provide it. Of course, in a decent country, we wouldn't be talking about accessing healthcare through for-profit insurance companies at all.

[CN: Image of injury at link] This is a really moving story about a man who received a full face transplant meeting the sister of the man whose face he received. "She touched his face and said: 'This is the face I grew up with.' Her brother, Joshua Aversano, had been killed in a road traffic accident, at the age of 21. The decision to donate his face had been difficult, but would have been what he wanted, said his mother Gwen Aversano."

[CN: Death] No, you're crying YOUR face off at this PSA!

[CN: Descriptions of animal cruelty] This is a good article about how Waukegan, Illinois, has been transformed into a "de facto no-kill shelter" by "an organic and compassionate coalition of city officials, volunteers, donors, veterinarians, cops, and dedicated animal control officers" who came together to address animal cruelty and create an informal "mandate to save, protect, and heal lost and abused animals in the city."

[CN: Images/discussion of violence] Joe Morse talks about his beautiful artwork from the first illustrated version of Toni Morrison's novel Beloved.

"Husband, wife sink rare back-to-back aces at same hole: 'I had a feeling. But, you know, everybody gets a feeling that this one's going in,' Janet Blundy said about her second career ace. 'We have a competitive edge between each other. It was just like, 'Hee hee, you're not gonna get one up on me.''" Adorbz.

Jessica Alba's The Honest Company is worth $1 billion?! Holy shit!

Here's a little more Tom Hardy awesomeness for ya: "It's Mel Gibson that you expect [when you see Fury Road]. What you don't get, here, is what you expect. And that's what's wonderful. The lead of this movie is a female amputee. It's a total empowerment of women. It's actually about fucking time."

And finally! The flooding in Texas displaced shelter pets at Austin Pets Alive!, a no-kill shelter in Austin, and people lined up to foster and/or adopt the animals. Blub.

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