In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Police brutality; racism] Yesterday, the jurors in trial of William Porter, the first officer tried in death of Freddie Gray, told the judge they were deadlocked. The judge ordered them to resume deliberating. We now wait to see what happens during their third day of deliberations. All of Porter's legal fees are being paid by the Baltimore police union, and as Kira Lerner reports at Think Progress, the police union's "involvement in the case extends beyond paying the officers' defense fees. A number of safety valves enshrined in the union's contract all but guarantees that accusations of misconduct will never reach a criminal court."

[CN: Police brutality; racism] "Darrius Stewart, the unarmed black 19-year-old shot and killed by a white Memphis police officer in July, was moving away from the officer when the second shot was fired, according to several eyewitnesses quoted in the official investigation. The investigation, conducted by the Tennessee bureau of investigation and released by the Shelby County district attorney general on Tuesday, includes two eyewitness accounts of the incident that describe Stewart as turning to run from the officer, contradicting the officer's account that Stewart advanced at him." Again, and again, and again.

[CN: War on agency; anti-choice terrorism] "Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) President, Eleanor Smeal, today called on the House Select Investigative Panel of the Energy and Commerce Committee to either redirect its focus to violence against abortion providers, or to disband. This select panel, which has subpoena powers, was set up to investigate 'big abortion providers' in response to the now debunked videos produced by the so-called Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which falsely accused Planned Parenthood of illegal activities. But the real threat is anti-abortion extremism. 'How can House members investigate abortion providers and ignore the activities of key CMP official and Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, or the routine harassment and intimidation of abortion providers?' asked Smeal. 'The House Select Investigative Panel must call on Newman and other CMP officials to answer questions under oath about how their activities may have contributed to anti-abortion harassment, intimidation, and terrorizing of abortion providers,' Smeal continued. 'Anti-abortion violence isn't just about lone wolves. It is also about the wolf packs that harass and terrorize abortion providers.'" In fact, one might argue that it isn't about lone wolves at all, since no one who engages in anti-choice terrorism acts outside of the context of a culture with institutional hostility to reproductive agency.

Welp: "The Federal Reserve looks almost certain to raise short-term borrowing rates on Wednesday, ending an extraordinary period of government intervention in the financial markets that started at the height of the recession. ...Earlier this month, [Fed Chair Janet Yellen] signaled to Congress's joint economic committee that the US economy was now strong enough for the Fed to raise rates. The unemployment rate now stands at 5% and economic growth appeared stable, she said." That's the official unemployment rate, however, which does not include people who have given up on job hunting, and doesn't speak to the large number of people who are underemployed and/or making unlivable wages.

[CN: Misogynoir] Because everything is terrible, a throng of dirty assholes decided to register their complaint about Serena Williams being named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year by suggesting Triple Crown-winning horse American Pharoah should have won instead of her. Rage. Seethe. Boil. Naturally, Williams did not let that pass without comment during her acceptance address: "I'm not standing here because I've just kind of cruised on. I've had my share of ups and downs. I've had many struggles. I've had blood clots in both my lungs at the same time. I've lived through tragedies and controversies—and horses." Fuck off, haters.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] LOLOLOL! "MPs sing David Bowie's Space Oddity to celebrate Tim Peake's successful ISS launch." Because of course they did!

Here is just a perfect picture of Beyoncé dressed up like a Christmas tree.

Adele continues to rule the world: "Adele Special Goes Platinum for NBC, Biggest TV Concert in a Decade: At 10 p.m., Adele Live in New York City averaged an impressive 3.0 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.3 million viewers. The last primetime concert special to pull in such a strong showing with adults 18-49 was in 2005 with the airing of—wait for it—The Eagles Farewell Tour."

Whoa! "Chinese scientists say they have discovered a nearly 5-foot-long Giant Salamander in a cave in southwestern China which may be close to 200 years old, which would make it the oldest living creature on Earth (besting this tortoise, which is said to be 183). The creature, a species which is critically endangered, was transferred to a facility for observation. It's unclear what effect removal from its natural habitat may have on its health, but our guess is not great." Sadface.

[CN: Moving gifs at link] And finally! "36 Animal Moments That Changed the World in 2015." I don't know how I managed to miss #31, but omfg I am laughing SO HARD.

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