Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Terrorism; death; self-harm; description of violence] "The French police stormed an apartment in the medieval heart of the northern Paris suburb of St.-Denis before dawn on Wednesday in an attempt to find the Belgian man suspected of orchestrating the Paris terrorist attacks. Two people died in the raid, including a young woman who detonated an explosive vest, and seven people were arrested. It was not clear if the suspect was there. The raid began around 4:15 a.m. Paris time, when special police forces, backed by truckloads of soldiers, cordoned off an area near the Place Jean Jaurès, a main square in St.-Denis not far from the Stade de France, where three attackers blew themselves up on Friday. Inside the apartment, on the third floor of a building on the Rue du Corbillon, at least five suspects were holed up. One of them, the woman, opened fire and then killed herself; a man—'another terrorist,' the Paris prosecutor, François Molins, said—died from a combination of gunfire and the detonation of a grenade." Fuck.
[CN: War on agency] "[A first-of-its-kind study of the prevalence of self-induced abortion from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project] found that between 100,000 and 240,000 Texas women of reproductive age have attempted to end a pregnancy on their own without medical assistance. Based on a comparison with earlier data, the findings of this study suggest that the incidence of self-induced abortion may be proportionally higher in Texas than among women in the rest of the country. There are two factors behind this finding. One, a large share of Latina women live along the U.S.-Mexico border and have relatively easy access to the abortion inducing drug misoprostol, which is available over the counter in Mexico and has long been widely used by women in that country and throughout Central and South America to self-induce abortion. Two, rapidly declining access to clinic-based abortion care and other forms of reproductive health care in Texas have so increased the burden of getting timely access to care that women are giving up and turning to self-induction."
[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] Goddammit: "Indiana Republicans Introduce the Most Anti-LGBT LGBT Rights Bill Ever: The bill, which will be known as Senate Bill 100, does add 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity' to the state's nondiscrimination laws as it claims to. However, it expends far more words to limit the extent of those protections, making them all but worthless to most plaintiffs. ...All religious or religious-affiliated organizations are exempt from the bill's provisions related to sexual orientation and gender identity only. ...The bill also copies from the problematic 'First Amendment Defense Act' introduced in Congress, offering broad protections for religious organizations from any consequences. It would prohibit any state government agency from taking any 'discriminatory action' against a religious organization for acting 'in accordance with a religious belief or matters of conscience regarding marriage.' ...In other words, the legislation requires the state to subsidize discrimination, funding organizations with taxpayer money even if they refuse to serve same-sex couples equally."
[CN: Refugee crisis] "Cuba has blamed US policy for a surge in migration from the Communist-run island to the United States. The Cuban foreign ministry said US laws dating back to the Cold War encouraged illegal emigration. ...Under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act, Cuban nationals can become residents in the US much more easily than applicants from other countries. ...The statement was published as almost 2,000 Cuban migrants remained stranded on the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The Cuban migrants say they want to reach the US, but Nicaragua has so far denied them passage north. ...Nicaragua said it turned back hundreds of Cuban migrants on Sunday who had crossed the Penas Blancas border post by force. The move has caused tension between neighbours Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with Costa Rica demanding a 'humanitarian corridor' be created to allow the migrants to continue their journey. The Cuban foreign ministry said that those who had left the island legally were welcome to return to Cuba if they so wished. But one of the migrants stuck at the border told the Associated Press news agency that he had no desire to return. 'We're a group of human beings trying to achieve their dream—to go to the United States,' he said."
[CN: Sexual assault; rape culture] Think, too, of this story the next time you hear someone arguing that rape survivors should be required to participate in the US criminal justice system: "A Cross County judge is accused of soliciting sex from offenders in his court in exchange for sentence reductions, the Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission said."
[CN: Sexual assault; rape culture] "Four women sued Michigan State University on Wednesday for mishandling their sexual assault reports, according to a lawsuit first obtained by BuzzFeed News, saying the school's investigations dragged on for so long that they violated the federal gender equality law known as Title IX." They are really brave, and I dread the shit they're going to have to navigate to do this very important thing.
Welp: "Ben Carson's remarks on foreign policy have repeatedly raised questions about his grasp of the subject, but never more seriously than in the past week, when he wrongly asserted that China had intervened militarily in Syria and then failed, on national television, to name the countries he would call on to form a coalition to fight the Islamic State. Faced with increasing scrutiny about whether Mr. Carson, who leads in some Republican presidential polls, was capable of leading American foreign policy, two of his top advisers said in interviews that he had struggled to master the intricacies of the Middle East and national security and that intense tutoring was having little effect."
[CN: Islamophobia] This fucking guy: "The United States will have 'absolutely no choice' but to close down some mosques where 'some bad things are happening,' Donald Trump said in a recent interview, explaining his rationale for doing so. 'Nobody wants to say this and nobody wants to shut down religious institutions or anything, but you know, you understand it. A lot of people understand it. We're going to have no choice,' the Republican presidential said in an interview from Trump Tower on Fox News' Hannity on Tuesday night."
Meanwhile: "Republican regulars, veterans of conventional politics, are pondering the unthinkable: What if neither Donald Trump nor Ben Carson fades? Which would be a stronger candidate? Would either govern if he won? ...Ralph Reed, the leading political strategist of the religious right, said there's one other candidate who is "well-suited" to inherit both of those constituencies: Texas Senator Ted Cruz. That's scant solace for establishment Republicans."
Here are some famous men giving responses to being asked if they are feminists. Spoiler Alert: Some of them are better than others!
Tiny Caterpillar Resting in a Cozy Flower Bed!
[CN: Moving gifs at link] And finally! "The 31 Most Cat Things to Ever Happen." Haha!