In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

After nearly two years of negotiations, a deal has been struck with Iran: "Iran and a group of six nations led by the United States said they had reached a historic accord on Tuesday to significantly limit Tehran's nuclear ability for more than a decade in return for lifting international oil and financial sanctions. The agreement culminates 20 months of negotiations on a nuclear deal with Iran that President Obama had long sought as the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency. Whether it portends a new relationship between the United States and Iran—after decades of coups, hostage-taking, terrorism, and sanctions—remains a bigger question. President Obama, in an early morning appearance at the White House that was broadcast live in Iran, began what promised to be an arduous effort to sell the deal to Congress and the American public, saying the agreement was 'not built on trust, it is built on verification.' But Mr. Obama made it abundantly clear that he would fight to preserve the deal in its entirety, saying, 'I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.'" Wow.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has released a statement announcing that the Department of Defense will "create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified." Emphasis mine. Right on!

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave her first major economic speech in this election yesterday, and she "dedicated more than 1,000 words to burdens disproportionately carried by women—a rarity in the context of policy addresses from front-running presidential candidates. She called fair pay, flexible scheduling, paid family leave, and earned sick days 'essential to our competitiveness and growth.' ...And she mentioned the disparity that makes all this even tougher for female workers nationwide: American women, on average, make 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. Women of color, Clinton added, make even less. The number, compared to white men's earnings, dwindles to 64 cents for black women, the National Women's Law Center reports, and 56 cents for Hispanic women. 'Another key ingredient of strong growth that often goes overlooked and undervalued: Breaking down barriers so more Americans can participate more fully in the workforce, especially women,' she said. 'We are in a global competition and we can't afford to leave talent on the sidelines.'" Boom.

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism] "New York City has agreed to pay $5.9m to the family of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old man who died on Staten Island last July after being placed in an illegal chokehold by a police officer. ...The city's medical examiner ruled the death a homicide but Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who placed Garner in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes, was not indicted." I guess that's something. But no amount of money will ever bring Garner back.

[CN: Sexual assault] Last week, court documents from 2005 were released containing testimony from Bill Cosby in which he admitted obtaining quaaludes with the intent of using them to rape women. "Cosby, 77, made the admission during testimony in a civil case brought by a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand, who alleged that Cosby tricked her into taking drugs before he sexually assaulted her. The case was settled for an undisclosed sum in 2006 but the documents in the case were unsealed on Monday after the Associated Press went to court." And yet there are still people defending him. I would say that's unbelievable, but I have been covering the rape culture for too long to regard that as anything but frustratingly, rage-makingly believable.

[CN: Misogynoir] Congratulations to Serena Williams, who won Wimbledon once again: "Williams at 33 became the oldest slam champion of the modern era by beating her excellent opponent, 12 years her junior, 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 23 minutes, thrilling Centre Court with a coronation final that briefly looked like turning into an insurrection. Instead, Williams came through as the holder of all four majors for the first time since she had that honour in 2003, putting her within sight of Steffi Graf's 22 majors, as well as Margaret Court's all-time mark of 24. If she retains the US Open she will have become only the fourth woman to claim a calendar-year grand slam." The coverage of Williams' victory has been appalling, rife with coded and blunt racism and misogyny, and body policing that exists at the intersection of the two. I won't link to any of it, because fuck that. What I will say is that Williams is one of the greatest athletes, if not the greatest athlete, of our time, and anyone who cannot bask with awe at her incredible talent because their gaze is clouded with bigotry is a sad and pathetic person.

[CN: War on agency] Last week, Imani Gandy wrote a terrific piece on the Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges decision: "Anthony Kennedy's Dignity Jurisprudence Is Great for Same-Sex Marriage, But Not for Abortion Rights." Great stuff there.

[CN: Airplane crash] Wow, this is one tough girl: "A US teenager who survived a plane crash in the craggy, thickly forested mountains of north-central Washington state emerged from the wilderness after hiking 'for a couple of days' and was picked up by a motorist who drove her to safety... [T]here was no sign of the aircraft or its occupants until Autumn Veatch, 16, followed a trail to Highway 20, near the east entrance to North Cascades national park. A motorist picked her up on Monday afternoon and drove her 30 miles east to a general store in Mazama, where employees called 911. ...Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said she had been 'walking for a couple of days'. He declined to comment on the status of the other two people who had been on the plane." I'm sorry that it seems as though her step-grandparents perished in the crash.

[CN: Misogyny] Tell 'em, Senator! "Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) spoke out about FIFA's pay inequity on the Senate floor on Monday, putting forth a formal resolution to demand that the international soccer governance board fix the fact that women's World Cup champions earned just $2 million while the men's world cup team winners earned $35 million. The men's USA team was actually eliminated in the second round, and earned $8 million for doing so. He said that the common argument against pay equity in FIFA—disparities in revenue—should be no excuse. 'Revenue should not be and cannot be used for discrimination. …In fact, they ought to ask how many people watched that women's soccer people. Most people would give anything to have that viewership,' he said. Indeed, the women's World Cup final drew a record-breaking 20 million viewers. Leahy continued: 'The 2014 women that took part in the tournament are role models, not just to girls but to men and boys across the world. They should be awarded for their grit, their performance and teamwork rather than devalued for their gender.'" Yes!

Good news for fat fashionistas: "Torrid is now carrying a Size 6, AND is cutting all of their old sizes MUCH larger. ...If you compare the old Size Chart and the new Size Chart side by side every single size measurement has gotten at least one inch bigger! And they're including Size 6 online, which goes up even higher! ...This is GREAT news for those of us that have not been able to buy Torrid's fun clothes in the past. The larger sizing and the new Size 6 are truly extending their size range AND a lot of their clothes seem to come in the new Size 6." Yay!

Wowowowow: "NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is at Pluto. After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface—roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India—making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth." You can view the extraordinary image of Pluto taken by New Horizons here.

Cool: "Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider have announced the discovery of a new particle called the pentaquark. It was first predicted to exist in the 1960s but, much like the Higgs boson particle before it, the pentaquark eluded science for decades until its detection at the LHC. The discovery, which amounts to a new form of matter, was made by the Hadron Collider's LHCb experiment."

Neat: "A cluster of submerged volcanoes, thought to be about 50 million years old, have been discovered around 250km off the coast of Sydney by a team of Australian scientists who were looking for lobster larvae. ...The four extinct volcanoes in the cluster are calderas, which form after a volcano erupts and the land around them collapses, forming a crater with the largest 1.5km across the rim and it rises 700 metres from the sea floor. ...Australian National University's Richard Arculus, who is a world-leading expert on volcanoes, said these types of volcanoes are windows into the seafloor."

And finally! "Bob the dog is a golden retriever who lives in Brazil and chills with multiple birds and one fat little hamster." Amazing.

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