In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War on agency; class warfare] Republican priorities: "Republicans are pushing toward Senate approval of legislation demolishing President Barack Obama's signature health care law and halting Planned Parenthood's federal money, setting up a veto fight the GOP knows it will lose but thinks will delight conservative voters. The White House promised a veto Wednesday, saying the bill would 'take away critical benefits and health care coverage' from families. With Republicans lacking the two-thirds House and Senate majorities needed for a successful override, the measure became a political messaging battlefield as both parties looked toward the 2016 presidential and congressional elections. 'Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class of our country. It's a partisan law that puts ideology before people, that hurts many of the very Americans it was supposed to help,' said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky." Presumably without a trace of irony.

[CN: Police brutality; racism] Hillary Clinton has called for "a Justice Department review of the Chicago Police Department in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting. The Clinton campaign said Wednesday in a statement, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, 'Hillary Clinton is deeply troubled by the shooting of Laquan McDonald and the outstanding questions related to both the shooting and the video. Mayor Emanuel's call for a task force to review practices of the Chicago Police Department is an important step, but given the gravity of this tragic situation, she supports a full review by the Department of Justice.' Clinton's move put her at odds with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who on Wednesday said he was opposed to a Justice Department Civil Rights Division probe." I'll bet he is, since he obstructed the investigation. (Btw, Clinton is wrong: Emanuel's call for a task force isn't "an important step." It's another way for Emanuel to evade accountability via official corruption in Chicago.)

[CN: Murder; domestic violence] GOOD: "South Africa's supreme court of appeal has found Oscar Pistorius guilty of murdering [Reeva Steenkamp, who was dating Pistorius at the time], overturning a previous conviction for culpable homicide. The court has ordered the original trial judge in Pretoria to impose a harsher sentence. No date has been set for this hearing. The minimum sentence for murder is 15 years in prison. ...Justice Eric Leach, who read out an abridged version of the judgment on Thursday morning on behalf of the court, said: 'The accused ought to have been found guilty of murder.' ...Leach was critical of Pistorius's inconsistent testimony in the original trial. 'In the light of these contradictions [in Pistorius' testimony], one does not really know what his explanation is for having fired the fatal shots,' he said."

[CN: Class warfare] This is utterly appalling: "A new study released Wednesday by the Institute for Policy Studies shows that...not only do the top one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans own more than most Americans put together, but the nation's top 20 richest people own as much wealth as the entire bottom half of U.S. earners. That's a sliver about 15,000 times smaller than the already superrich one-tenth of 1 percent. ...[The Fortune 400 annual list of the wealthiest Americans] has a combined net worth of $2.34 trillion, the study found, more than a full 62 percent of Americans—more also than the nation's entire black population. But staggering as they are, these figures still don't paint the full picture, says [the study's coauthor Chuck Collins, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies]. That's because they only represent taxable wealth that is not held in offshore accounts or siphoned through complex tax loopholes. According to a separate study published earlier this year by the Boston Consulting Group, offshore tax havens represent as much as $10 trillion globally, with as much as one quarter of that held by individual Americans. ...'It may be that we're only seeing half the wealth,' says Collins." Grotesque.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Speaking of obscenely wealthy shitlords: "Donald Trump said Thursday he will release a doctor's report of his health within two weeks and it will show 'perfection.' ...'I consider my health, stamina and strength one of my greatest assets. The world has watched me for many years and can so testify-great genes!' Trump tweeted." My top secret sources have provided me with an EXCLUSIVE image of Trump's brainscran, and it's preeeeeetty interesting.

[CN: War on agency] "Michigan, Ohio's neighboring state, has seen an influx of nonresidents seeking abortion care in the wake of Republican Gov. John Kasich's relentless campaign to roll back abortion access, FiveThirtyEight reports. Since Kasich, a 2016 presidential candidate, took office in 2011, he has quietly led his state to an almost unprecedented number of abortion clinic closures." And he's the "moderate" in the clown car.

[CN: Misogyny] Big news for Saudi women: "Saudi Arabia will let divorced women and widows manage family affairs without approval from a man or a court order, a state-aligned newspaper said on Wednesday, a major step to lift some of the legal powers men hold over female relatives. ...The Al Riyadh newspaper said the Interior Ministry will issue family identity cards not only to men, but also to divorcees and widows, granting them powers that will include accessing records, registering children for schools, and authorizing medical procedures. The newspaper did not give a date for the move. In a country where men hold legal powers over female relatives in almost all their interactions with the state, the change will significantly change the lives of divorced or widowed women, particularly for those bringing up children alone."

[CN: Homophobia] Good news from Ireland: "Ireland has passed a bill that will make it illegal for religious-based schools to discriminate against gay teachers. ...The Equality (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 had already passed through the upper house of the Irish government and will now go to President Michael D. Higgins for signing."

[CN: Transphobia] "The state of Minnesota wants health insurance companies to quit screwing over transgender people. Last week the state government issued an official-sounding 'administrative bulletin' putting insurers on notice that discriminating against transgender folks isn't cool anymore. If that sounds like something that probably should have been illegal already, that's because it is. While Obamacare makes your free-market pal's blood boil, a section of it bans health care discrimination based on sex and gender identity—the first federal law of its kind, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Good stuff for the trans community, right? Except the discrimination is still happening anyway, says Joann Usher, executive director of Minneapolis-based Rainbow Health Initiative. 'Some of it I think is unintentional, perhaps not realizing the scope of the Affordable Care Act,' she says. 'Some of it is clearly intentional. There's a suspicion that by making this coverage available it's going to cost insurance companies a lot of money.'" Running healthcare through for-profit insurance companies continues to be an excellent idea.

Neat! "The European Space Agency has launched a pathfinder probe from French Guiana tasked with carrying out an experiment aimed to detect gravitational waves—ripples in space and across time predicted, but never proven, by physicist Albert Einstein 100 years ago. 'The purpose of this spacecraft is to eventually detect something that Einstein's theory of general relativity predicts and hasn't been detected yet which is gravitational waves,' Francisco Diego, senior research fellow at University College London's Department of Physics and Astronomy, told Al Jazeera. 'We believe and we anticipate that this is the way gravity travels in space.'"

And finally! "Dog Showers Rescuer with Kisses as a Thank You." Awwwwww. ♥

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