Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Extreme weather; death] So awful: "Though the Mississippi River and its tributaries didn't top the 19 vulnerable levees that federal officials were monitoring, the dangers from a rare winter flood remained throughout Missouri and parts of Illinois on Wednesday. Swollen rivers and streams were pushed to heights not seen since the massive 1993 floods, causing Illinois to transfer an unknown number of inmates from a state prison and declare disasters in seven counties and prompting Missouri's governor to activate the National Guard to help divert traffic away from submerged roads. At least 20 deaths over several days in Missouri and Illinois were blamed on flooding, mostly involving vehicles that drove onto swamped roadways, and at least two people were still missing Wednesday. ...'Nobody that is living has ever seen anything like this,' [Pleasant Hope's director of emergency management] Rick Davis said."
[CN: Militarism] Welp: "The USS Harry S. Truman was crossing international waters in the Strait of Hormuz when Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRCGN) conducted a live-fire exercise right nearby, according to a statement. An Iranian navy attack craft fired several unguided rockets near the carrier, officials said. A French frigate, the U.S. destroyer USS Bulkeley and other commercial traffic were also in the area at the time of Saturday's incident. Only 23 seconds warning was given before the weapons were fired, according to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. The rockets were not fired at the Truman and other ships, and there were no direct communications between U.S. and Iranian navies, military officials said. 'The IRGCN's actions were highly provocative,' Cmdr. Kevin Stephens, spokesman for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, said Wednesday in a statement." So everything continues to go great in that part of the world then.
[CN: Refugee crisis; xenophobia] For fuck's sake: "A group of Senate Republicans wants to largely pause the acceptance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees until the administration meets a wide-range of hurdles aimed at bolstering background checks. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has introduced legislation that would block the administration from accepting or resettling the refugees until the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Director of National Intelligence have determined that each refugee has passed a background check ensuring that they aren't a national security threat and haven't supported a terrorist organization." As Senator Dick Durbin rightly notes: "Refugees are the most carefully vetted of all travelers to our country." By the by, even the most absurdly untenable enhanced screening requirements cannot stop the "self-radicalization" about which we're hearing so much lately. People who are concerned about "self-radicalization" might do well to focus on stopping Islamophobic violence in the US, rather than worrying about whether refugees fleeing terrorists are themselves terrorists.
[CN: Police brutality; racism; death] Tamir Rice's mother, Samaria Rice, issued a statement on the grand jury's decision to refuse to indict the officers who killed her son, and it is heartbreaking: "My family and I are in pain and devastated by the non-indictment of officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for the murder of our beloved Tamir. After this investigation—which took over a year to unfold—and Prosecutor McGinty's mishandling of this case, we no longer trust the local criminal-justice system, which we view as corrupt. Prosecutor McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers' defense attorney. ...I don't want my child to have died for nothing and I refuse to let his legacy or his name be ignored. We will continue to fight for justice for him, and for all families who must live with the pain that we live with. ...[T]his entire process was a charade."
[CN: Misogyny; sex abuse] If you haven't yet read Rebecca Solnit's "Men Explain Lolita to Me," you should. It is great.
[CN: Worker exploitation] Damn: "Spotify Hit with $150 Million Class Action over Unpaid Royalties: Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery, retaining the law firm of Michelman & Robinson, LLP, has filed a class action lawsuit seeking at least $150 million in damages against Spotify, alleging it knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses."
This is why Aretha Franklin is the undisputed Queen of Soul.
John Boyega is everything. Like I need to tell you.
[CN: Body shaming; ageism] Carrie Fisher forever and ever. As I said on Twitter, Carrie Fisher has aged exactly as I want to age: By living. With panache.
And finally! This is just a ridiculously awesome documentation of doggy friendships. LOVE.