In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Violent threats] The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Anthony Elonis, who claimed that the threatening language he posted on Facebook, directed at his ex-wife, was just his artistic way of expressing himself through rap lyrics. "The central legal question was what determines whether a statement is a true threat that can be prosecuted. One potential test is whether a reasonable speaker would foresee that the statement would be interpreted as a threat. An alternative, harder-to-reach test would require proving a subjective intent to threaten. The high court's much-anticipated decision Monday sided with the latter, tougher standard." So, basically, any dipshit can claim he wasn't intending to threaten someone and, unless their target can prove otherwise, it's all totally legal because free speech. This decision particularly does not bode well for women online.

[CN: Racism] And because SCOTUS just continues to be awesome, they're also fixing to issue a terrible decision in a housing discrimination case, too.

[CN: Islamophobia] In one amazing break from their onslaught of awful, SCOTUS did, however, rule in favor of Samantha Elauf, who was "denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store in Oklahoma because she wore a head scarf for religious reasons."

[CN: Surveillance] Welp: "Sweeping US surveillance powers, enjoyed by the National Security Agency since the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, shut down at midnight after a dramatic Senate showdown in which even the NSA's biggest supporters conceded that substantial reforms were inevitable. Almost two years after the whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed to the Guardian that the Patriot Act was secretly being used to justify the collection of phone records from millions of Americans, critics of bulk surveillance went further than expected and forced the end of a range of other legal authorities covered by the Bush-era Patriot Act as well. The expired provisions...are likely to be replaced later this week with new legislation—the USA Freedom Act—that permanently bans the NSA from collecting telephone records in bulk and introduces new transparency rules for other surveillance activities."

(Although the USA Freedom Act is a step in the right direction, we still have a long way to go.)

[CN: War on agency] My pal Andrea Grimes on the latest anti-choice fuckery in Texas: "The Texas legislature approved two measures on Friday that will make it harder for some of the most marginalized Texans to access cancer treatment and legal abortion care."

[CN: War on agency] Meanwhile, in Alabama: "Dalton Johnson, the owner of the Alabama Women's Center, the only abortion clinic in northern Alabama, ...who has faced steadfast opposition from activists, legislators, and lawyers since opening his clinic 14 years ago, now faces a proposal that could force his practice to once again relocate—or close for good. In one of the Alabama General Assembly's final days in session, the House of Representatives on 26 May voted 79-15 to prohibit abortion clinics from operating near many public schools. If the law is passed, the Alabama department of public health will no longer be allowed to issue or renew a health center license to an abortion clinic located within 2,000ft of a K-12 school's campus or property."

[CN: Earthquake] Japan was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake over the weekend, causing buildings in Tokyo to sway "for almost a minute as the quake built in intensity. There are no reports of serious damage. No tsunami alert was issued. ...Naoki Hirata, of the University of Tokyo's earthquake research centre, said: 'This was a very big quake...the shaking was felt over a broad area...fortunately, because it was deep, there is little danger of a tsunami.'" There were some reports of injuries, but luckily it seems like no one was seriously injured or killed.

[CN: Sex abuse] The Duggars have announced that they will do a sit-down on Fox News "to share our hearts with you about the pain that we walked through as a family twelve years ago, the tears we all shed, and the forgiveness that was given." Sounds gross and terrible. Meanwhile, their pastor felt it was important to say: "Everyone does wrong, and what was wrong was very wrong as to what was testified to and it's completely unacceptable. "But I'm thankful, whether it's him or any other one, that I serve a God who can forgive everything."

[CN: Sex abuse] And the church elder who witnessed Josh Duggar's confession to the Arkansas trooper, who claimed Jim Bob Duggar had lied about the extent of the abuse, says it's the trooper who's lying: "I definitely remember telling him before we went that he needed to come clean, and I definitely remember being satisfied that he did that when it was over." This is just a bunch of men blaming each other for not doing enough with no accountability for not doing enough themselves. Meanwhile: FORGIVENESS. Fuck all of this.

[CN: Fat bias; use of "overweight"] On the theme of not being an Inspirational Fatty, Allison McCarthy writes: "I'm a plus-sized woman. I never want to hear 'I'm proud of you' for exercising." Yup.

Balloon artist Masayoshi Matsumoto makes some of the most incredible balloon art animals that I've ever seen. Extraordinary.

And finally! "Pig Craps Inside a Police Car and Looks Unbelievably Pleased with Herself." Exactly as advertised, lol!

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