Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Homophobia] Tonight is President Obama's State of the Union address, and among those in attendance will be homophobic Kentucky clerk Kim Davis "after the Family Research Council arranged for her to be in the House audience along with her attorney Mat Staver." This would be awful enough, except it's even worse since Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case which federally legalized same-sex marriage, will be there as an invited guest of President Obama. I hope he doesn't have to see her face.
[CN: Carcerality] This is very interesting: "Philadelphia has a plan to cut its prison population by one-third, or about 2,500 inmates, over three years. It just needs some help with the cost. So said the city in a proposal submitted Wednesday to the MacArthur Foundation, seeking $2 million in grants and pledging $2 million in new and existing city money to drive its prison number down by 34 percent. ...In May, Philadelphia was one of 20 cities to win a $150,000 planning grant from the foundation to develop strategies. Up to 10 cities will be selected for grants to implement their plans. ...Philadelphia's proposal focuses on decreased reliance on cash bail, and enhanced diversion programs and mental-health supports for defendants awaiting trial on criminal charges. Currently, 75 percent of Philadelphia inmates are awaiting trial. ...'The causes of mass incarceration are numerous and complex, so the fact that all our criminal justice partners have come together behind one comprehensive plan to significantly reduce our prison population is a great accomplishment,' said Mayor Kenney, who in his first week in office has stressed the need for criminal-justice reform at several public appearances."
In other interesting news out of Philly: "Struggling Philadelphia Inquirer is donated to nonprofit in groundbreaking deal: 'If newspapers are having trouble turning a profit without deep annual cuts, how about becoming a nonprofit?' That was the question posed just a few months ago by an article in NiemanLab, a news industry publication. Late Monday night, in a stunning development for a struggling business, that's pretty close to what the storied Philadelphia Inquirer and its sister publications, the Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com, reported that they would become. Philly.com reported that owner H.F. 'Gerry' Lenfest donated the entire Philadelphia Media Network (PMN), which runs all three of the outlets, to the nonprofit Institute for Journalism in New Media, part of the Philadelphia Foundation. The institute will be headed by a board composed mostly of journalism school deans and academic and foundation executives." If this works, we could definitely see more of our newspapers headed the same way.
[CN: Misogyny; sexual harassment] In depressing but unsurprising news: "Sixty percent of the women working in Silicon Valley experience unwanted sexual advances, according to a new survey released this week. About two-thirds of them say that these advances were from their superior. The survey called Elephant in the Valley was conducted by seven women, one of whom was a key witness in the Ellen Pao trial last year. 'The inspiration for this survey came out of the incredible conversation from the Ellen Pao and [Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers] trial. What we realized is that while many women shared similar workplace stories, most men were simply shocked and unaware of the issues facing women in the workplace,' wrote the survey's authors." A luxury of privilege.
[CN: Misogyny] Speaking of misogyny: "Sen. Bernie Sanders accused Hillary Clinton of taking an increasingly aggressive stance against him because she's nervous that he is beating her in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. 'It could be that the inevitable candidate for the Democratic nomination may not be so inevitable today,' Sanders said at the Iowa Brown & Black Forum in Des Moines Monday night." FOR FUCK'S SAKE. When has Hillary Clinton ever been "inevitable"? Considering she lost the last time she ran, I don't think Clinton has any illusions of inevitability; that's a thing the men who challenge her invent to make themselves seem more amazing than they are.
In other presidential news, President Obama says Donald Trump is a garbage person full of garbage (I'm paraphrasing): "I'm pretty confident that the overwhelming majority of Americans are looking for the kind of politics that does feed our hopes and not our fears, that does work together and doesn't try to divide, that isn't looking for simplistic solutions and scapegoating but looks for us buckling down and figuring out, 'How do we make things work for the next generation?'" I hope you're right, Mr. President!
Sad news for all you Rand Paul heads and Carly Fiorina fanatics out there! "Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul will be excluded from the main stage at Thursday's Republican presidential debate in Charleston, S.C. because of lackluster poll numbers, Fox Business Network announced Monday. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich will participate in the primetime debate at 9 p.m. Thursday, the hosting network announced." Can't wait!
[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] "GOP presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson sat down with Witherspoon Institute's Matthew Franck for an interview on the Catholic network EWTN over the weekend. He was asked about initiatives around the country to protect the rights of transgender students in schools. Carson, who said he thinks it's 'ridiculous' that LGBT people should get rights, also called LGBT people 'abnormal' who are ruining it for everyone else... 'I mean, it's beyond ridiculous that you take the most abnormal situation and then you make everyone else conform to it. That doesn't make any sense whatsoever.'" Actually, that's pretty much the exact basis for a pluralistic democracy, sir.
Whoa: "Over the last year, the solar industry added jobs twelve times faster than the rest of the economy, even more than the jobs created by the oil and gas extraction and pipeline sectors combined." Cool.
Heads-up, Star Wars nerds! "Disney and Lucasfilm are inching closer to finding their young Han Solo for the upcoming untitled Star Wars spinoff. Sources tell Variety that after seeing thousands of actors, execs have cut the list down to about a dozen actors with Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, Logan Lerman, 'Brooklyn' star Emory Cohen, and 'Everybody Wants Some' actor Blake Jenner among the names making the cut." Wait a second—Dave Franco but not James Franco?! Come on. Everyone wants to see Han Solo kiss himself in a mirror. That's just science.
[CN: Moving GIFs at link] And finally! "26 Questions Every Cat Owner Has Asked Themselves." Facts.