In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Death penalty; environmental harm] Well, that was short-lived: The Supreme Court is back to disappointing the hell out of me, issuing two terrible opinions this morning: In Glossip v. Gross, they ruled "that a drug used by Oklahoma as part of its lethal injection procedure does not violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, dealing a setback to opponents of the death penalty." And in Michigan v. EPA, they struck down "new rules for America's biggest air polluters...dealing a blow to the Obama administration's efforts to set limits on the amount of mercury, arsenic, and other toxins coal-fired power plants can spew into the air, lakes, and rivers."

The Supreme Court giveth, and the Supreme Court taketh away. And by "Supreme Court," obviously I mean Anthony Kennedy. It's fun when my non-US friends and family express horror that so much rests in the hands of nine people, and I get to tell them it's really only one guy. And by "fun," I mean I'm sobbing and rending my garments.

In some lingering good news from the Supreme Court's better decision-making days of last week, Ian Millhiser explains how "Chief Justice Roberts Rejected Marriage Equality in the Best Possible Way for Liberals."

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Two major debt crises in motion today: In Greece, "Greeks faced shuttered banks, long supermarkets lines, and overwhelming uncertainty on Monday as a breakdown in talks between Athens and its international creditors plunged the country deep into crisis." And in Puerto Rico, Governor Alejandro García Padilla, "saying he needs to pull the island out of a 'death spiral,' has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions."

I don't have the requisite economic expertise to comment meaningfully on the global consequences of these crises. What I will say, however, is that my thoughts are with the people of Greece and Puerto Rico, and I am desperately sorry that their fates are so inextricably tied to the wills of people whose fortunes have been made in part by exploiting them.

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[Content Note: War on agency] Goddammit: "The Ohio Senate's GOP majority on Wednesday approved a ban on abortion after 20 weeks' gestation only hours after it went through committee. SB 127, which anti-choice group Ohio Right to Life called its 'legislative priority' this year, was passed after exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother were removed from the measure. The bill passed in a 23-9 vote and will now move to the Republican-led state house for approval. ...Ohio is one of at least ten states to introduce so-called fetal pain abortion bans this year. A similar ban was passed in West Virginia after the GOP-majority state legislature overrode the governor's veto. The Wisconsin Senate passed a so-called fetal pain bill this month. The South Carolina legislature will next January take up a 20-week ban despite arguments between conservative legislators that the bill was too lenient because it included exceptions for rape and incest. Those exceptions were eventually removed."

I don't even know what to say anymore that I haven't already said six thousand times about these aggressively hostile thunderfucks who are doing everything they can to subvert the right ostensibly guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. I am just constantly, constantly angry about the erosion of reproductive rights across the country, and it just feels like it's been so fucking long since reproductive justice advocates have had a big win.

Would the country celebrate with us even if we did? (That's rhetorical.) (That's also exactly the problem.)

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[CN: Wimbledon spoiler] Serena Williams won her opening match at Wimbledon today, defeating Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 6-4, 6-1. Because of course she did! "Williams has won three straight major titles, including the Australian Open and French Open. If she wins the title at the All England Club and then defends her title at the U.S. Open, she would be the first player since Steffi Graf in 1988 to win all four Grand Slam titles in the same season." Yowza!

She is amazing, and I love watching her play so much. If you, too, are a Serena Williams fan, you might enjoy [CN: disablist language] "17 fascinating facts about Serena Williams, who's on the brink of tennis history."

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In presidential primary news, Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is reportedly going to announce tomorrow that he's running for president, and Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich is reportedly going to announce his own presidential run on July 21. THAT IS ONE CROWDED CLOWN CAR!

Meanwhile, Democratic Vice President Joe Biden is still weighing a White House run of his own.


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[CN: Homophobia] Jamilah King has written a great piece on what the Supreme Court's marriage decision means for LGB parents in the South: "The American South is home to many ironies, but perhaps none as intriguing as those relating to same-sex unions. Before Friday's historic Supreme Court ruling, same-sex marriage was almost universally banned in Southern states, a reality that painted a bleak picture for LGBT Americans who live there. But then there's also this: There are more gay and lesbian parents raising children in the South than anywhere else in the country, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the Williams Institute, an LGBT think tank based at the University of California, Los Angeles. For example, more than 20% of same-sex couples are raising children in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, and of those couples, blacks and Latinos are more than twice as likely as white parents to be raising children. These are facts that help reshape the narrative of same-sex marriage from an individual's quest to legally wed whomever they please to a family's search for legal protection."

[CN: Animal extinction] Holy crap: "We are at the beginning of the world's sixth mass extinction; not since the fall of the great prehistoric beasts has our planet seen such extreme species loss. Last week, scientists writing in the journal Science Advances found that vertebrates—animals with a backbone—are going extinct at a rate up to 100 times greater than in the past. These rates are unusually high, even considering Earth's long history, and humans—for whom a period of such high extinction rates is unprecedented—could feel the consequences in as few as three lifetimes."

LOLOLOL: "Pope's climate change activism sets stage for awkward visit to Capitol Hill." Brilliant.

All right then: "After 35 years in development, the world's first commercially available jetpack will be available next year for $150,000." The worst part about this is that I only have $149,873 in my jetpack fund. DAMMIT!

[CN: Animal illness but happy ending] And finally! A pink flamingo in Sorocaba, Brazil, whose left leg was partially amputated to halt an infection after a break, has gotten a prosthetic leg and: "Within days the flamingo was adjusting nicely to his new leg—even tucking it under his body to make the flamingo's classic one-leg standing pose." Aww!

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