Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Racism] The tallest mountain peak in the US will no longer be officially known as Mount McKinley, but as Denali: "With the approval of President Barack Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has signed a 'secretarial order' to officially change the name, the White House and Interior Department announced Sunday. ...The tallest mountain in North America has long been known to Alaskans as Denali, its Koyukon Athabascan name, but its official name was not changed with the creation of Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980, 6 million acres carved out for federal protection under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The state changed the name of the park's tallest mountain to Denali at that time, but the federal government did not." Naturally, there are some people who are VERY ANGRY about this! Because they are terrible!
[CN: Anti-immigrationism] Speaking of Republicans: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, currently a presidential candidate, said over the weekend that building a border wall along the US-Canadian border "is a legitimate issue for us to look at." No, no it is not. Go take a nap, Governor Walker.
Well done, Indy Star: "The Indianapolis Star is launching an unprecedented campaign in support of LGBT rights that likely will set a new standard for what it means to be a gay-affirming daily newspaper. The Star's editorial board initiative is designed to convince GOP Gov. Mike Pence and state lawmakers to add LGBT people to the state's civil rights law during the 2016 legislative session." Naturally, there are some people who are VERY ANGRY about this! Because they are terrible!
Speaking of Republicans: Former New York Governor George Pataki gets the bestest headlines: "George Pataki waits for a lightning strike for his candidacy." LOLOLOL. That's gonna be one long wait, pal.
In good news: The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law "that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska. The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be 'medically necessary.' Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of 'medically necessary' arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services."
[CN: Worker exploitation; racism] Fucking hell: "Latino workers, some of whom are undocumented, went to New Orleans in the days and weeks following the disaster to help with reconstruction efforts and debris and mold removal. But even a decade later, many remain underpaid or unpaid. Over the past few years, the Workplace Justice Project, an organization that gives free legal assistance to help mostly Latino workers recoup their lost wages, has filed claims to try to recover more than $700,000 in stolen wages."
RIP Wes Craven. I'm not a huge fan of horror films, and the ones I like tend to be the deliberately terrible ones. (You're shocked; I know!) But one of my favorite horror/thrillers is Red Eye, starring Rachel McAdams, which was directed by Wes Craven. His films weren't exactly feminist masterpieces, but he was one of the few male horror directors who was capable of viewing female characters as more than bait for violent men.
[CN: Sexual assault; rape culture; victim-blaming] The Pretenders' lead singer Chrissie Hynde (who had to be convinced by k.d. lang that she's a feminist) has written a new memoir in which she says that she's responsible for her own rape. Now, I'm not inclined to audit other survivors' accounts of their sexual assault (although I will never agree that anyone is responsible for rape except rapists), but then she goes on to say that women who wear certain types of clothes are "asking for it." Nope. Shut up, Chrissie Hynde.
[CN: Racism; tone-policing] This is a pretty decent account of the backstory, personally and politically, behind Nicki Minaj calling out Miley Cyrus at the VMAs last night. What Cyrus said about Minaj "was a textbook example of what's come to be known as 'tone policing,' a common term in feminist and anti-racist circles—shifting the focus from what was said to how it was said, using the pretext of concern that someone's style might undermine substance to, well, undermine that substance." Yup. Minaj was right on. Cyrus was being a tone-policing asshole at the intersection of misogyny and racism. And, you know, not for nothing Everyone Who Criticizes Nicki Minaj's Tone Constantly, but there are some of us who appreciate and value other women for their "rude tones." Some of us are even women ourselves who have rude tones! And some people like us for that, too!
Neat! "Single black holes are impressive enough, but astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a galaxy being powered by a quasar that contains two of the time-space benders, 'furiously whirling about each other,' the space agency observed in a news release. ...As the first time such a binary black hole has been confirmed to exist in a quasar, the discovery has repercussions for their study. The binary structure may be more common than originally thought. 'We are extremely excited about this finding because it not only shows the existence of a close binary black hole in Mrk 231, but also paves a new way to systematically search binary black holes via the nature of their ultraviolet light emission,' said Youjun Lu of the National Astronomical Observatories of China, Chinese Academy of Sciences."
[CN: Moving GIFs at link] OMG SQUEEEEEE: "Seal Asks Diver for Belly Rub and Responds Just Like a Puppy." Sometimes I watch videos of wild animals interacting with humans, and I think that what looks like something ostensibly "cute" is actually an animal in distress seeking help. But in this case, that seal really looks like it wants a belly rub and is enjoying the heck out of it, lol! I wonder if maybe zie got a belly rub from a human as a pup and always thought, "I want to do that again someday!"