Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Death penalty; disablism; descriptions of violence at link] "Ernest Lee Johnson is scheduled to die on Tuesday for the 1994 killing of three convenience store workers in Missouri. He would be the 26th person executed in the US this year and the seventh in Missouri. Only Texas, with 12, has performed more executions. ...Johnson grew up in a troubled home and his attorney, Jeremy Weis, said his IQ was measured at 63 while still in elementary school." Additionally, Johnson has had significant brain surgery that puts him at risk for "a violent and painful seizure upon injection." End the death penalty now.
USians are becoming less religious, but many of the people who are still religious are becoming even more so: "An extensive new survey of more than 35,000 U.S. adults finds that the percentages who say they believe in God, pray daily and regularly go to church or other religious services all have declined modestly in recent years. ...The share of U.S. adults who say they believe in God, while still remarkably high by comparison with other advanced industrial countries, has declined modestly, from approximately 92% to 89%, since Pew Research Center conducted its first Landscape Study in 2007.1 The share of Americans who say they are 'absolutely certain' God exists has dropped more sharply, from 71% in 2007 to 63% in 2014. And the percentages who say they pray every day, attend religious services regularly, and consider religion to be very important in their lives also have ticked down by small but statistically significant margins. ...Among the roughly three-quarters of U.S. adults who do claim a religion, there has been no discernible drop in most measures of religious commitment. Indeed, by some conventional measures, religiously affiliated Americans are, on average, even more devout than they were a few years ago."
[CN: Police brutality; guns; racism; video may autoplay at link] "Hillary Clinton met Monday with a collection of parents whose African-American children have died in shootings at a local Chicago cafe, discussing their loss and outlining her criminal justice reform and gun control plans. The two-hour gathering included the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice. All African-American women who lost their young children in shootings, the group formed a 'motherhood' in the wake of their losses. ...According to the women, Clinton did not make any explicit promises to them, but did pledge to stay engaged in their causes and work on criminal justice reform. All of them women described the meeting as productive and said Clinton appeared earnest and trustworthy. 'She is a mother and she is a woman and I felt she understood where we were coming from,' said Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir Rice. 'It doesn't matter what color we are, I felt that she really understand where we are coming from.' ...Clinton tweeted about the meeting afterward, saying that she was 'grateful to spend time today with mothers who have lost a child to violence and turned their grief into a national call to action.'" Please, Maude, whoever becomes the next president, do something meaningful for these women; do something so that their 'motherhood' has no new members. Blub.
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Ben Carson is now the GOP front runner, according to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll: "Ben Carson has surged into the lead of the Republican presidential race, getting support from 29 percent of GOP primary voters... Carson's 29 percent is followed by Donald Trump at 23 percent, Marco Rubio at 11 percent, Ted Cruz at 10 percent, and Jeb Bush at 8 percent."
Meanwhile, Larry Lessig has ended his joke of a presidential campaign. Okay.
Senator Al Franken is getting serious about Democrats taking back the Senate majority. GOOD!
[CN: Transphobia] "Federal education authorities, staking out their firmest position yet on an increasingly contentious issue, found Monday that an Illinois school district violated anti-discrimination laws when it did not allow a transgender student who identifies as a girl and participates on a girls' sports team to change and shower in the girls' locker room without restrictions. ...The Education Department gave 30 days to the officials of Township High School District 211 to reach a solution or face enforcement, which could include administrative law proceedings or a Justice Department court action. The district could lose some or all of its Title IX funding." They claim to care so much about protecting (cis) girls that they're willing to risk their Title IX funding to defend a transphobic policy. Cool priorities.
(And just because this can't be said enough: If you claim to care about girls, but exclude trans girls, then you don't care about girls. You care about cis privilege.)
[CN: Racism] Planes, trains, and automobiles: "A discussion about an overbooked seat led to six black passengers being kicked off a Spirit Airlines plane at Los Angeles International Airport Monday, and those passengers are claiming discrimination. According to CBS News Los Angeles, a flight attendant asked a couple to change seats because the airline had overbooked. Witnesses say the couple told the attendant that asking them to move was unfair because they'd done nothing wrong. The flight attendant reportedly called the police to have the couple escorted off the plane. When some passengers protested the couple's treatment, the flight attendant asked police to remove them from the plane, too." For fuck's sake.
Twitter has replaced favorite stars with like hearts. Oh.
Neat! "Rare Omura's whale caught on camera for the first time ever."
YES: "Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller says 'we'll definitely see more' of Tom Hardy in the film's sequels. But, no Mel Gibson." That is a perfect calculation thank you.
LOVE: "Man Built Custom Kayak So He Could Take His Dogs on Adventures." Obviously!