In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Racism; anti-immigrant sentiment; class warfare] I don't even know where to begin with this story; the sheer scope of what's happening is breathtaking: "Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are facing deportation from the Dominican Republic, the latest in a series of actions by the government that have cast a light on the country's long-troubled relationship with its Haitian neighbors. Undocumented workers in the Dominican Republic had until Wednesday to register their presence in the country, in the hope of being allowed to stay. The government says nearly 240,000 migrant workers born outside the Dominican Republic have started the registration process. But there are an estimated 524,000 foreign-born migrant workers in the country—about 90 percent of whom are Haitian, according to a 2012 survey—leaving a huge population of migrants at risk of deportation. Human rights groups had hoped the government would delay the registration deadline, given the difficulties faced by many in producing documents and satisfying bureaucratic requirements. But there were no indications that the authorities would stall their plan to begin ejecting workers." This is happening right outside the US, and there has been hardly a peep about it in US media. Absolutely awful.

[CN: War on agency] It continues to be a real mystery why Republicans aren't connecting with a majority of female voters: "House Republicans released a budget proposal this week that would eliminate funding for the Title X program, a decades-old network of family planning providers offering birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing, and reproductive health treatment to millions of low-income women across the country." When they want to prevent access to abortion and access to contraception, there is little room for them to deny that they simply want to force women (and other people who can get pregnant) to have babies, irrespective of our desire to have them.

[CN: Water access] Fuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh: "The world's largest underground aquifers–a source of fresh water for hundreds of millions of people—are being depleted at alarming rates, according to new NASA satellite data that provides the most detailed picture yet of vital water reserves hidden under the Earth's surface. Twenty-one of the world's 37 largest aquifers—in locations from India and China to the United States and France—have passed their sustainability tipping points, meaning more water was removed than replaced during the decade-long study period, researchers announced Tuesday. ...Scientists had long suspected that humans were taxing the world's underground water supply, but the NASA data was the first detailed assessment to demonstrate that major aquifers were indeed struggling to keep pace with demands from agriculture, growing populations, and industries such as mining. 'The situation is quite critical,' said Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and principal investigator of the University of California Irvine-led studies."

[CN: Class warfare; carcerality] Over 80% of people charged with a felony crime in the US are indigent and thus qualify for, and must rely on, representation by a public defender. But: "According to the US Department of Justice, in 2007, about 73% of county public defender offices exceeded the maximum recommended limit of cases (150 felonies or 400 misdemeanors). Too often, those who are poor receive lower quality defense than those who have the means to pay. The on-going decimation of public defense prevents defense attorneys from conducting 'core functions,' including factual investigation into the underlying charges." Public defense is a right, but it's just a worthless promise if public defenders aren't empowered to do their jobs effectively.

[CN: Racism; appropriation] This is a great article in which Stacey Patton interviews other female academics about Rachel Dolezal's fraud. Two quotes I liked in particular: Kinitra D. Brooks, an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas at San Antonio: "I have three words for Rachel Dolezal: How dare you? As black feminists, we have to work so hard just to be accepted and to have our critical theories considered valid. Her falsity can color what so many have previously argued as the supposed illegitimacy of black feminist scholarship." And Jennifer Griffiths, an associate professor of English at the New York Institute of Technology: "As a white woman professor who has focused on race issues in my scholarship and teaching, I feel like she avoided the hard, ongoing process of addressing her white privilege as part of work toward racial equality. Dolezal took it to a whole new level of arrogance about the ability to know someone else's experience, and to me, that's a kind of violation and betrayal that undermines any good intention."

[CN: Transphobia; gender policing] Bangkok University is letting its trans students wear whichever one of its binary-designed student uniforms that they prefer. This is a pretty nifty solution while the tradition of requiring uniforms is maintained. It would be pretty cool if they'd also let anyone who identifies as female wear trousers.

[CN: Injury; abuse; violence against people and animals] This is a truly bizarre story about a military doctor who has been abusing trainees, raising red flags for years, but somehow still "earning at least $10.5 million in federal contracts since 2007 through his company." Fucking hell.

Philae news! "European scientists are planning a risky manoeuvre to get their Rosetta spacecraft closer to the comet it is orbiting, so it can communicate with its robotic lander on the surface and start experiments that could unlock some of the universe's secrets. The lander, called Philae, surprised scientists at the weekend by waking up and sending a signal to Earth. ...With the comet moving closer to the sun, scientists hope Philae will be able to generate enough power to resume its pre-programmed experiments. But in order to receive the data, Rosetta will have to get closer to the comet." *bites nails*

We need bees. We need them big time. We need to protect them.

And finally! Chelsea the Golden Retriever jumped in to save her family during an accidental encounter with a mama moose protecting her two calves. Who's a good doggy?! YOU ARE, CHELSEA!

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