Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Terrorism; death] Fuck: "At least three people have been killed in Mali after a group of attackers armed with guns and grenades stormed a luxury hotel in the capital, Bamako, taking up to 170 people hostage. Malian special forces were later seen launching an assault on the Radisson hotel, with local and state television saying dozens of hostages had been freed. However, the hotel's owners said according to its latest information 125 guests and 13 staff were still inside. Al-Mourabitoun, an African jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, claimed responsibility in a message posted on Twitter. The claim could not immediately be verified." The Guardian's live coverage of the events is here, and is being updated with the latest information as it becomes available.
[CN: Transphobia] Yesterday, a Wisconsin legislative committee heard hours of testimony on its reprehensible "bathroom bill." The Capitol hearing room was filled with people, many of whom were "sitting on the floors and standing for hours to have a chance to testify." And yet, before many opponents were given an opportunity to testify, Republican legislators decided to leave, refusing to hear testimony from other elected officials and school reps, as well as trans people and their allies who had patiently waited through hours of other testimony, including 50 minutes granted to a hate group. Fuck this. Fuck all of it.
[CN: Rape culture] Seven high school girls, most or all of whom are black, were kicked off the basketball team after they refused to play in a game to protest that their concerns about their male coach were not being taken seriously. The coach, who is not black, resigned his last post "for personal reasons," and, since being hired by this school, has twice had to be kicked out of the girls' locker room by the female assistant coach. Further, the players say they felt uncomfortable around him "because he was very feely. Hand on the shoulders and other places and stuff." Not only did the administration refuse to address their concerns, but they had the coach deliver the news that the girls were kicked off the team. When the girls' parents went to the school, they were told: "A thorough investigation by the St. Tammany Parish Public School System has found that allegations brought up in regards to the Salmen High Girls Basketball Coach are unfounded." Rage. Seethe. Boil.
[CN: War on agency] No surprise here: "A Washington state investigation into Planned Parenthood has found 'no evidence' of wrongdoing on the part of the women's reproductive healthcare provider following allegations the organization was selling or profiting from fetal tissue donations. Washington state joins a growing list of states where probes into Planned Parenthood have failed to turn up proof of any illegal activity."
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] This isn't good: "One of the country's largest health insurers warned Thursday that it may leave the ObamaCare exchanges within two years, delivering a shock announcement that could ripple through the marketplace. At a shareholder meeting Thursday, UnitedHealthcare cast doubt on its ability to carry plans on the healthcare law's exchanges beyond 2016, offering a more grim financial outlook than it had previously expected. 'In recent weeks, growth expectations for individual exchange participation have tempered industrywide,' said Stephen Hemsley, the company's CEO. 'Co-operatives have failed, and market data has signaled higher risks and more difficulties while our own claims experience has deteriorated, so we are taking this proactive step,' he said." Because insurance companies exist to generate profit, not to provide healthcare. Which is why we need single-payer healthcare that isn't run through for-profit insurance companies.
[CN: Christian supremacy] Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has created a "national prayer team," because of course he has: "Mr. Cruz, who has aggressively courted the support of evangelicals, said the creation of the team would 'establish a direct line of communication between our campaign and the thousands of Americans who are lifting us up before the Lord.'"
OMG! "Sources reveal that Columbia Records will ship 3.6 million physical copies of Adele's new album 25 in the U.S., which would probably mark the largest number of new-release CDs shipped in the past decade. The last album to ship more than that would have been *NSYNC's No Strings Attached, which shipped 4.2 million units back in 2000."
Yesssssssss: "David Bowie dropped an intense, nearly 10-minute film for his new track Blackstar, which is the latest chapter in his Major Tom saga and has fans eagerly anticipating his new album." I LOVE IT SO MUCH! It's like a hymn in the Church of Bowie!
And finally! "This 3-Week-Old Pygmy Hippo Is the Cutest Thing Imaginable." Pretty much.