Here is some stuff in the news today...
Today is National Hugging Day. Never hug anyone without their consent! Also: Not everyone likes hugging, and that is okay.
[Content Note: Class warfare; institutional harm; clean water access] President Obama has declared a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan, because of the water contamination crisis. [CN: Video may autoplay at link] Julie Bosman, Monica Davey, and Mitch Smith detail, for the New York Times, how local officials minimized and mocked residents' complaints about the toxic water, as those people were being slowly poisoned.
[CN: Assassination] "The murder of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 in the UK was 'probably' approved by President Vladimir Putin, an inquiry has found. Mr Putin is likely to have signed off the poisoning of Mr Litvinenko with polonium-210 in part due to personal 'antagonism' between the pair, it said." How surprising, said nobody. Because Putin is a terrible and terrifying nightmare human who regards international law as quaint suggestions that don't apply to Garbage Kings.
[CN: Hostility to consent; anti-choice fuckery] This would be unbelievable if I didn't believe that Republicans are capable of just about anything but decency: "Carly Fiorina has been accused of 'ambushing' a group of children, after she ushered pre-schoolers, who were on a field trip to a botanical garden, into an anti-abortion rally in Des Moines. ...The alleged ambush occurred when Fiorina hosted a 'right to life' forum at the Greater Des Moines botanical garden. Entering the rally, before a crowd of about 60 people, she directed around 15 young children towards a makeshift stage. The problem, one parent said, was that the children's parents had not given Fiorina permission to have their children sit with her—in front of a huge banner bearing the image of an unborn foetus—while she talked about harvesting organs from aborted babies. 'The kids went there to see the plants,' said Chris Beck, the father of four-year-old Chatham, one of the children Fiorina appeared with." WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK.
Right on: "Low-wage workers will strike and protest in Charleston, South Carolina in the lead-up to the Democratic debate there Sunday night, according to the Fight for 15, the union-backed movement to raise the minimum wage. Hundreds of fast-food, home care, child care, and other low-wage employees will converge on the city, according to Fight for 15 Organizing Director Kendall Fells, with more actions targeting both Democrats and Republicans planned for the primary season."
[CN: Racism; sedition] Good grief: "As the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge nears its fourth week, the militia is now raking through Native American artifacts housed on the property. In a new video posted to the Bundy Ranch's Facebook account, several ranchers search boxes of artifacts that belong to the Paiute tribe. As members of the group sift through documents and objects, holding them up to the camera, LaVoy Finicum talks about how poorly the artifacts have been stored and proposes a dialogue with local Paiute. ...Members of the tribe have repeatedly slammed the militia, telling the ranchers to 'get the hell out.' 'We as Harney County people can stand on our own feet,' Jarvis Kennedy of the Burns Paiute Tribal council said at a press conference earlier this month. 'We don't need some clown to come in here and stand up for us.'"
[CN: Racism] Idris Elba on the lack of diversity on television: "I knew I wasn't going to land a lead role [in the U.K.]. I knew there wasn't enough imagination in the industry for me to be seen as a lead. In other words, if I wanted to star in a British drama like Luther, then I'd have to go to a country like America. And the other thing was, because I never saw myself on TV, I stopped watching TV. Instead I decided to just go out and become TV." (Note: Elba has criticism for the US, too. He doesn't think it's a bastion of diversity, just because he found more opportunity here than in the UK.)
Awwwwww: "President Barack Obama revealed on Wednesday that he had turned down a chance to speak at his own daughter's graduation later this year. ...'Malia's school asked if I wanted to speak at commencement and I said no,' Obama said, according to ABC. 'I'm going to be wearing dark glasses...and I'm going to cry.'" ♥
Cool: Over the next few days, "Mercury will be close to the Sun, over in the East, and Jupiter will be over in the West, with Venus, Saturn, and Mars between the two. Pluto is near Mercury, but is invisible to the eye, requiring a telescope for viewing. The last time an alignment such as this occurred was about 10 years ago. This pre-sunrise configuration will be similar for other northern latitudes."
And finally! I love this so much: "A Fair Shake For Youth is a New York City-based organization using dogs to build empathy and self-esteem in students. Students are given the opportunity to work with therapy dogs each week. Through structured activities, they are able to build relationships with the dogs based on honesty, positive communication, mutual respect, and trust. ...After spending time with the dogs, students learn to appreciate each dog's differences and relate that same idea back to the people they encounter. The program encourages students to work towards building respectful relationships, and to advocate for others. In doing so, students begin to feel valuable, lovable, and empowered."