Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: War] It continues: "Russia says it has launched rocket strikes on Islamic State group targets in Syria from warships in the Caspian Sea—about 1,500km (930 miles) away. ...Meanwhile, Syrian ground troops have launched an offensive under Russian air cover, Syrian officials say. Russia denies claims that its week of strikes have mainly hit non-IS targets. ...Russia says it is targeting 'all terrorists,' but at least some of its air strikes have reportedly hit civilians and Western-backed rebels. US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said that coalition forces fighting IS in Syria would not co-operate with Russia. 'We believe Russia has the wrong strategy,' he said. 'They continue to hit targets that are not IS. We believe this is a fundamental mistake.'"
[CN: Flooding; death] An update on South Carolina: "The state faces what will surely be billions of dollars in damages once the waters recede and it attempts to rebuild and replace lost property. President Obama declared a state of emergency in all 46 South Carolina counties on Saturday, which facilitates federal and state response efforts. North Carolina sent 70 members of its National Guard to aid in response efforts. ...The situation in the Palmetto State has somehow only gotten worse since the bulk of the rain hit the state over the weekend. As of Tuesday afternoon, 16 people had died in the floods, the first last week, and tens of thousands lost power. At least 18 dams breached or failed, causing thousands to have to evacuate their homes on short notice before millions of gallons of water burst out of lakes and holding ponds. This makes life even more perilous for a populace told by state officials to stay home and off the roads if their area is safe. Dam breaks will continue to happen even with the sun shining bright because the state received so much rainfall inland that is now gushing downstream into the ocean in a second wave of deadly water." Fucking hell. I'm thinking about you, South Carolinians.
[CN: Transmisogynoir; transphobia violence; death] RIP Kiesha Jenkins, who is "the 20th trans woman reported murdered in the US this year. ...The vast majority of the women killed this year have been transgender women of color." My condolences to her family, friends, and community. I am so sad and so fucking angry about the epidemic of violence in this country against trans women. This is one of those times where my metaphorical teaspoon feels so goddamn inadequate, and I really wish I had a metaphorical dumptruck instead. We desperately need to move the earth faster.
[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says that the Obama administration is not ready "to endorse the Equality Act, which would expand non-discrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide," because the legislation—which would "amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include protections that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system"—is "still under review by the administration" as there are "significant consequences to this bill going into effect. It has an impact on housing law and a variety of other policies in the federal government, so it's something that's still being carefully reviewed by the administration." Well, hurry up!
[CN: War on agency] This Republican caucus can fuck directly off: "On Saturday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced House Republicans will assemble a new select committee to investigate Planned Parenthood... According to Blackburn, the committee's creation is the first part of a three-pronged strategy devised to limit abortion rights in the wake of CMP's fraudulent videos. The committee, to be chaired by Blackburn under the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee, plans to push the passage of 'additional pro-life measures' through Congress and 'break the Senate logjam' by crafting a budget reconciliation package with the intent of defunding Planned Parenthood. House Democrats, including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, were swift to condemn the House Republicans' actions, alleging the lawmakers are 'trying to make it easier to shut down the government and harder for millions of women to access the lifesaving health care.'" Goddammit.
[CN: Carcerality; reproductive injustice] This is a must-read piece about Amanda Kimbrough, an Alabama woman who was sentenced to 10 years in prison after her son was delivered stillborn at 25 weeks and she "was prosecuted for the 'chemical endangerment' of her fetus relating to her on-off struggle with drug addiction. The case was pursued so forcefully by the state of Alabama that she was charged with a class A felony—equivalent to murder." Rage. Seethe. Boil.
[CN: Carcerality; war on drugs] In better news: "Roughly 6,000 federal inmates will be released in the coming weeks in an effort to ease prison crowding and lessen harsh penalties for non-violent offenders, US media report. The release is the biggest of its kind in US history, the Washington Post reported. The inmates being released early were all convicted of drug-related charges. An additional 8,500 inmates will be eligible for release starting in November. The US Sentencing Commission unanimously approved the reductions to the jail terms of inmates last year. Up to 46,000 of the nation's about 100,000 drug offenders could qualify for early release under the commission recommendations."
[CN: Rape culture; sexual harassment] Ashley Judd continues to speak out as a survivor and advocate against the rape culture, recounting the time she was groomed and sexually harassed by a studio chief, and how she overcame her feelings of shame and responsibility.
Oh damn! "Hillary Clinton got fed up with her Republican rivals criticizing her record as secretary of state, so she had a solution—send each of them a copy of her book. 'I'm trying to be a good fellow candidate and give them some help,' the Democratic front-runner said during a rally in Iowa. Apparently each GOP candidate (except for Jim Gilmore) received not only a copy of Hard Choices, her 2014 memoir, but also a personalized letter. Clinton, on a bit of a joke spree after her appearance on Saturday Night Live last weekend, got in another jab in Iowa, deadpanning that there are so many candidates on the other side, 'they could have a book club.'" LOL! "Except for Jim Gilmore." LOL!
Oh my heart: "The True Story of the Ugly Duckling." ♥
And finally! Via Shaker AnnaAnastasia, here is just a terrific video of hippos eating watermelons whole. CHOMP! It's basically like when I give Olivia a treat, except on an epic scale, lol.