In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Surveillance] A federal appeals court in New York has ruled "that the once-secret National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans' phone records in bulk is illegal. ...In a 97-page ruling, a three-judge panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a provision of the USA Patriot Act permitting the Federal Bureau of Investigation to collect business records deemed relevant to a counterterrorism investigation cannot be legitimately interpreted to permit the systematic bulk collection of domestic calling records." Welp.

[CN: Earthquake] Residents of Nepal's Langtang Valley are having to beg foreign people for whom rescue helicopters are being sent to allow injured locals to be evacuated before healthy foreigners are: "'Most helicopters were coming to pick up the foreigners, who were healthy, not our injured people,' said Lhakpa Jangba, a local baker who was interviewed at a monastery in Kathmandu after his evacuation from the valley last week. 'We said to the foreigners: You are healthy. Stay one or two more days and let our injured people go.'" There are separate camps for mountaineers and displaced locals, and, although there is definitely some cooperation, what's happening there is reflective of the disproportionate local and foreign resources.

In related news: "Four of the six dogs on the rescue crew [in Nepal] were rescues themselves, who were given second chances when they were taken from shelters and put into training at California's National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. Five days after the earthquake hit, one of the dogs on the team was part of a search group that discovered a teenager who was trapped beneath the rubble of a fallen building."

[CN: Racism] Cops who aren't racist dirtbags discuss the problem of white people calling in "suspicious behavior" on people of color. This is a really important issue, because, of course, it's not always cops who understand the racist dynamic who show up. It isn't just racist cops about whom we have to worry and whose actions we need to address; it's also the paranoid, racist white people who call the cops.

[CN: Class warfare; food insecurity] Not only is Wisconsin Republicans' proposal to restrict how food stamps are spent cruel and patronizing; it would also be expensive as hell. Doing great as always, Republicans!

Speaking of which: "Republicans hadn't even finished patting themselves on the back for passing the first budget in six years—a resolution that would add nearly $40 billion to the Pentagon's war-fund request—when the Defense Department's top brass slammed their 'budget gimmick' as a 'road to nowhere.' Rather than addressing the looming budget caps that will snap back in January, the fiscal 2016 budget resolution the Senate passed Tuesday on a party-line vote uses the Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operations fund—a war chest not subject to the caps—to simply go around them. The budget conference report sets about $523 billion for national defense, plus roughly $90 billion for OCO, for a total of $613 billion."

[CN: Exploitation; racism; misogyny; classism] "The Price of Nice Nails: Manicurists are routinely underpaid and exploited, and endure ethnic bias and other abuse."

I don't even know: "Three people have been charged in California with impersonating law enforcement officers after claiming to operate a police department with jurisdiction in 33 states. They said they belonged to a group called the Masonic Fraternal Police Department, which they claimed dated back to the Knights Templar. ...Los Angeles County sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida told the Associated Press news agency that there were no indications that the group had carried out any law enforcement activities."

[CN: Sexual assault] Professor of Bible Bigotry Mike Huckabee compares a trade agreement supported by President Obama to US workers being raped: "When there's cronies involved and getting a special deal, and when other countries are cheating, and Americans lose jobs, I'd like to think the US government would stand up for the US workers rather than let them take it in the backside." This fucking guy.

Tom Brady's dad thinks he's innocent. Oh.

Wowowowow: "Watch an Enormous 'Plasma Snake' Erupt from the Sun: Over the course of April 28–29, a gigantic filament, briefly suspended above the 'surface' of the sun, broke off and created an enormous snakelike eruption of plasma that extended millions of miles out into space. The event was both powerful and beautiful, another demonstration of the incredible energy and activity of our home star…and it was all captured on camera by two of our finest Sun-watching spacecraft."

And finally! "From Life in a Cage to Life on the Road: My Adopted Dog's Adventures." Awwww.

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