In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Colonialism] Today is Canada Day, and lots of Canadians are celebrating. Happy Canada Day to those who celebrate it. Killa Atencio, an indigenous activist, writes about why she chooses not to celebrate Canada Day: "Ideally, for me, Canada Day would encompass everything it pretends to be: freedom, sharing, unity, prosperity, and a healthy nation-to-nation relationship. But the relationship between Canada and its indigenous peoples today remains broken with an urgent need to be repaired."

Congratulations to the US Women's Soccer Team, who defeated Germany 2-0 last night, and now heads to the final! Woot!

[CN: Police killings; racism] The Guardian continues its terrific coverage of police killings in the US, finding that the killings are happening "at a rate that would result in 1,100 fatalities by the end of this year... The Counted, a project working to report and crowdsource names and a series of other data on every death caused by law enforcement in the US this year, found that 547 people had been killed by the end of June." That's an average of three people killed every day for the first half of this year. "In total, 478 of those people were shot and killed, while 31 died after being shocked by a Taser, 16 died after being struck by police vehicles, and 19—including 25-year-old Freddie Gray in Baltimore—have died after altercations in police custody. When adjusted to accurately reflect the US population, the totals indicate that black people are being killed by police at more than twice the rate of white and Hispanic or Latino people. Black people killed by police were also significantly more likely to have been unarmed."

[CN: Police killings; disablism] In related news, the Washington Post has published a major piece about police killings and mental illness, finding: "Nationwide, police have shot and killed 124 people this year who...were in the throes of mental or emotional crisis, according to a Washington Post analysis. The dead account for a quarter of the 462 people shot to death by police in the first six months of 2015. The vast majority were armed, but in most cases, the police officers who shot them were not responding to reports of a crime. More often, the police officers were called by relatives, neighbors, or other bystanders worried that a mentally fragile person was behaving erratically, reports show. ...More than half the killings involved police agencies that have not provided their officers with state-of-the-art training to deal with the mentally ill. And in many cases, officers responded with tactics that quickly made a volatile situation even more dangerous."

[The disparities between the two tallies in total number of people killed by police is down to how they are counting police killings. The Guardian is essentially casting a wider net.]

[CN: Misogynoir; terrorism; white/male supremacy] Three female ministers at African Methodist Episcopal Churches in Clarendon County, South Carolina, have received threatening letters: "The letters quoted several bible verses, which the person writing the letter feels, makes reference to women not being head of the church, or home and the women must repent and turn away from what they are doing in the church, home or the letter threatens 'you and your children will die.'" These letters, received by female pastors at black churches, at the same time black churches are being burned, is not a coincidence.

Historic news: "President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the United States has agreed to the historic step of re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, and will raise its flag over a U.S. Embassy in Havana this summer." Wow.

Blub: "Biiftu Duresso, an 18-year-old from Rochester, New York, graduated at the top of her class this past Saturday from Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School, WHAM reported. During her graduation speech, the valedictorian took the time to thank those who inspired her including her father, Jamal Abdullahi, an Ethiopian immigrant who works nights as a supervising custodian at her school, as well as her mother, reported. 'My parents, Jamal and Zubaida, made their way to Rochester, New York, from Ethiopia in the '80s and '90s,' Biiftu said in her speech, according to 'They had the audacity to imagine something better for me and my siblings.' ...Duresso will be attending Barnard College in the fall and hopes to become a doctor. She plans to bring everything full circle, by opening a clinic in Ethiopia."

[CN: Wildfires] 2015 is already shaping up to be a bad year for wildfires, which is in turn bad for air quality: "As of June 30, 45 wildfires large active wildfires burned from Alaska down to Arizona and as far west as Colorado. Wildfires in Southern California had driven thousands from their homes, while fires in Alaska have burned more than one million acres this year. ...Wildfires come with smoke—and as residential developments continue to blur the boundaries between forest and urban, communities are increasingly facing health risks associated with smoke pollution." Fuck.

[CN: Homophobia] Some Christian dipshit in East Tennessee has put up a "No Gays Allowed" sign on his hardware store because: "They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can't I? They believe their way is right, I believe it's wrong. But yet I'm going to take more persecution than them because I'm standing for what I believe in." The man who has put a "No Gays Allowed" sign on his business says he's "going to take more persecution than them." Without a trace of fucking irony. Well, since his sign only prohibits "gays," I hope that lesbians and bisexual people will enjoy the low, low prices at his going out of business sale!

[CN: Racism; dehumanization] Google has apologized after its new Photos app, which "automatically tags uploaded pictures using its own artificial intelligence software," labelled a selfie of a black woman and man as "gorillas." A Google spokesperson said: "We're appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened. We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing. There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labelling, and we're looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future." The question, of course, is: How was this bug not uncovered in testing? Probably because it wasn't rigorously tested with photos of people of color.

[CN: Moving gifs at link] And finally! Photographer and filmmaker Mitsuaki Iwago was befriended by an adorably tenacious kitten while "shooting a special about cats of the world for television company NHK on Okinawa island." TOO CUTE.

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