In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War; video may autoplay at link] Welp: "President Obama is directing the Pentagon to send special forces into Syria to advise the Syrian opposition in its fight against ISIS, sources confirmed to ABC News. ...A U.S. official says the White House will announce that Obama has authorized somewhere around 50 special operations forces to go into Syria to work with the rebel group known as the Syrian Arab Coalition. These forces will work along the Syrian border and not on the front lines with the rebel groups. They will provide training, assistance, and advice just as U.S. troops are doing in Iraq. They will not be in combat, they will work with the Syrian Arab Coalition to facilitate airstrikes, but they are not forward air controllers. They will be at the group's headquarters speeding up coordination of potential airstrikes. The White House is expected to characterize the change as 'an enhancement' of the existing training, advisory and assist mission in Iraq against ISIS."

[CN: Rape culture; sexual assault] For fuck's sake: "A Polish court has rejected a US extradition request for the film director Roman Polanski over his child sex conviction. '[Polanski's] extradition is inadmissible,' said Judge Dariusz Mazur at the district court in the southern city of Krakow. ...Mazur said the case was very complicated, but an extradition procedure would violate Polanski's human rights because he could be subjected to confinement." Boo hoo.

Hillary Clinton has picked up a couple of notable endorsements: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gautam Raghavan and Jamie Citron, who are respectively President Obama's liaison to the LGBT community in The White House Office of Public Engagement from 2011 to 2014 and the former National LGBT Vote Director for Obama for America.

[CN: Carcerality; racism] In other campaign news, Clinton has proposed criminal justice reform that would disallow racial profiling by police and eliminate sentencing sentencing disparities "between crack cocaine and powder cocaine users," important because "lengthy crack cocaine sentences disproportionately affected African Americans who were not more likely than their white or Hispanic counterparts to use crack."

[CN: Death penalty] In less good news, Clinton still refuses to support abolition of the death penalty: "We have a lot of evidence now that the death penalty has been too frequently applied, and too often in a discriminatory way. I do not favor abolishing it, however, because I do think there are certain egregious cases that still deserve the consideration of the death penalty, but I'd like to see those be very limited and rare, as opposed to what we've seen in most states." The thing is, no matter how "limited and rare" the death penalty is, there is still a real chance of executing an innocent person, which is to say nothing of ethical objections to state-sanctioned murder. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, is explicitly in support of abolishing the death penalty: "I believe it is time for the United States of America to join every other Western, industrialized country on Earth in saying no to the death penalty."

[CN: Sexual violence] This is a difficult but compelling piece in the New York Times: "States Struggle with What to Do with Sex Offenders after Prison." This quote from Democratic Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton sums up the problem very succinctly: "I consider myself certainly as committed to improving our social service efforts on behalf of people who need help in our society. But there's a line you need to draw for public safety—and these people, if you look at some of their case files, it's repeated, horrific crimes that put them in this situation." The "situation" being that they have finished prison sentences, but are still being held by the state, because they have been assessed to be likely to reoffend. This is the nature of many sexual predators: They simply can't/won't be rehabilitated. So what is the state to do with them?

The title of this piece is crap, but this story about how a trans woman's family greeted her disclosure and transition is lovely, particularly this heartbreaking passage about her elderly mother: "My Mum has dementia and quite a few of my family were concerned about what would happen if I came out to Mum, whether she might be too stressed to handle it. And anyway, so when I eventually came out to Mum, I did it early in the morning and she listened. I kept it very simple. And she said—at the end of it, she said, 'Well,' she said, 'What do you know?' She said, 'I've got a beautiful new daughter.' And she said, 'Come here, love.' And I cried on her shoulder and Tess cried too and it was all wonderful. ...I go and see Mum every few weeks and she's forgotten each time, and every time I tell her again, she gives me just the same beautiful reaction that she did exactly the same, almost word for word every time. I'm kind of the luckiest one of all because I get to come out to Mum 100 times a year, and every time, she's beautiful."

Neat! "Using the VISTA telescope, astronomers in Chile have discovered a previously undetected band of young stars hidden away behind thick clouds of dust in the central bulge of the Milky Way. ...Using data pulled in by the Vista Variables in the Vía Láctea Survey (VVV) from 2010 to 2014, the astronomers found 655 candidate variable stars of a type called Cepheids. These stars are unique in that they expand and contract at regular intervals. Their brightness can change dramatically in just a few days or months. ...'All of the 35 classical Cepheids discovered are less than 100 million years old,' explains study co-author Dante Minniti in a release. 'The youngest Cepheid may even be only around 25 million years old, although we cannot exclude the possible presence of even younger and brighter Cepheids.' This would imply that there's a previously unconfirmed, continuous supply of newly formed stars in the central region of the Milky Way. What's more, by mapping these Classical Cepheids, the team highlighted an entirely new feature of our galaxy: a thin disc of young stars that stretch across the galactic bulge."

[CN: Animal cruelty] This story about rescued circus lions! "This male has no idea of the new life of freedom that starts in November." Blub.

David Beckham's daughter doodled a figure beside a heart on his palm, and he got it tattooed on him. Because Becks forever.

[CN: Violent imagery] Tom Hardy on whether he should be given an Oscar: "Lock me out of that, for your own good. It's like putting a wig on a dog, or a tutu on a crocodile. It doesn't look right, it's not fair to the animal, and inevitably someone will get bitten and hurt." LOL!!!

And finally! Breaking News: DADDY's HOME!!!

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