Here is some stuff in the news today...
Representative Paul Ryan has been elected Speaker of the House. Which puts him way closer to the presidency than being on a ticket headed by Mitt Romney ever did.
[Content Note: Reproductive coercion; misogyny; violence] China has gotten rid of its long-standing "one child" policy, but has not altogether removed reproductive restrictions. Instead, it has been replaced with a "two child" policy. "Some celebrated the move as a positive step towards greater personal freedom in China. But human rights activists and critics said the loosening—which means the Communist party continues to control the size of Chinese families—did not go far enough. 'The state has no business regulating how many children people have,' said William Nee, a Hong Kong-based activist for Amnesty International. 'If China is serious about respecting human rights, the government should immediately end such invasive and punitive controls over people's decisions to plan families and have children.'"
[CN: Police brutality; racism] Of course: "Nearly one year after 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by Cleveland Police Department Officer Timothy Loehmann, the grand jury has begun to hear evidence and decide if Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback, should face criminal charges for their actions on November 22, 2014. While the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association told ABC that the officers were subpoenaed to testify both last week and on Monday, Rice's family says it learned of the proceedings from press reports." The way this family has been treated. I am angry beyond description.
[CN: Death; disablist language; moving gif at link] This is an incredible and heartbreaking story about the tenacity of a man who mourned his wife, who died on a perilous mountain, by spending 22 years digging out a ridge with his bare hands so that no one else would suffer her fate. He didn't literally use a teaspoon, but, you know: Teaspoons.
I love this girl: "A 10-year-old girl who was born in China wants lawmakers to change the Constitution so she can run for president. ...Alena Mulhern testified on Wednesday before a Massachusetts State House committee that everyone should have the opportunity to lead the country. Alena was adopted from China and moved to Kingston, Mass. when she was 10 months old. 'I am an American as much as you are and everyone else. And I don't really remember China that much. All I know is America,' she told WBZ-TV. ...Alena is trying to persuade state lawmakers to pass a resolution asking the U.S. Congress to amend the Constitution to state that natural-born citizens include foreign-born adopted children. She asked the committee to consider 'all the great candidates' who cannot serve their country due to 'a law that came into existence more than 200 years ago.'" Kids today! Get ON my lawn!
[CN: Homophobia] Carefully chosen words: "Former senior Vatican priest Krzysztof Charamsa who came out earlier this month, and was subsequently defrocked by a Polish bishop, is criticizing the Vatican's treatment of gay Catholics saying they've made their lives 'a hell,' in a letter addressed to Pope Francis."
Neat! "NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully completed its close flyby of Saturn's moon Enceladus today, passing 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon's south polar region at approximately 8:22 a.m. PDT (11:22 a.m. EDT). Mission controllers established two-way communication with the spacecraft this afternoon and expect it to begin transmitting data from the encounter this evening. Images are anticipated in the next 24 to 48 hours." *jitters with excitement!*
[CN: Violence; assault; transphobia] What in the everloving fuck??? "Fast and Furious star Michelle Rodriguez will go under the knife for Tomboy, A Revenger's Tale, the gender-swapping action movie to be directed by Walter Hill. Sigourney Weaver is already on board to also star in the project... The script, written by Hill from a story by Denis Hamill, centers on an ace assassin who is double-crossed by gangsters and falls into the hands of rogue surgeon known as 'The Doctor,' who turns him into a woman. The hitman (now a hitwoman) sets out for revenge, aided by a nurse named Johnnie, who also has secrets." I am literally without words.
[CN: Images may be NSFW] Someone put me into a fucking cannon and fire me directly into the sun already, because I AM DONE: "Men are taking photos of their balls in front of beautiful landscapes: Nutscaping is a photo-taking trend which involves dropping your trousers, whipping out some testicles (yours, if you have them), and gently hovering above the camera so your balls hang down like a majestic moon in the sky."
In 100% more adorable news: THESE PICTURES of a baby orangutan! Squeeeeee!