In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Terrorism; appropriation] The latest from Malheur: 1. "Tension grows as Oregon militia occupies wildlife refuge for fourth night." 2. "Sheriff says steps being taken to end militants' occupation of federal compound." 3. [CN: video autoplays at link] "Leader of armed protesters in Oregon took out $530,000 federal loan." 4. "Oregon protester Ammon Bundy compared himself to Rosa Parks." These folks are dangerous fools. Few things worry me as much as dangerous fools.

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[CN for following four paragraphs: Misogyny; sexual assault; anti-migrant hatred.] There is a troubling story out of Cologne, Germany, about a group attack on women on New Year's Eve: Der Spiegel reports that "dozens of women were harassed and groped in the heart of Cologne on New Year's Eve by a large group of men on the crowded square in front of the city's main train station. According to police, many also had personal items stolen and fireworks were also fired into the crowd of revelers. According to police, some 90 complaints had been filed by Tuesday morning. ...At a press conference on Monday evening, Cologne's police chief, Wolfgang Albers, said that a quarter of the complaints made were related to sexual harassment or groping, with many others pertaining to theft of purses, wallets and mobile phones. He said that smaller groups of men repeatedly emerged from a crowd of about 1,000 young men to surround women, harass them and steal from them."

I've been reading about this case over the past couple of days, and waiting for more information, because witnesses have reported that the attackers were migrant men, and, bearing in mind cases like the Central Park Five and the current anti-migrant sentiment in Germany, I want to approach this with caution. Der Spiegel underlines why sensitivity is warranted: "Indeed, groups critical of Islam and foreigners have been quick to seek to appropriate the events in Cologne for their own purposes. Pegida, for example, the Islamophobic movement that got its start in Dresden, has posted several comments about the Cologne attacks on its numerous Facebook sites, with supporters responding in a predictably offensive manner."

To be abundantly clear, I believe the victims of these assaults. I am just exercising caution around reporting as fact that the attackers were migrant men. My sympathies and solidarity are with the victims, and I hope they have access to the support they need.

Relatedly: Cologne's mayor, Henriette Reker, is being rightfully criticized for suggesting "that women 'keep at an arm's length' from strangers to avoid sexual harassment." The fuck.

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[CN: Class warfare] In news that should surprise no one: "Some of the top experts on income inequality released a study of new, more accurate data this week, revealing that Americans in the top 1 percent have done far better than everyone else for the last half century—and why they've gotten so far ahead. ...Part of what's happening is that the source of the top 1 percent's income has changed. Up until the late 1990s, most of the growth was driven by the rich getting higher wages. But since then, it's been driven by capital income—money made from returns on investment. That jibes with a past study that found that lowered tax rates on capital gains income are 'by far the largest contributor' to growing income inequality."

[CN: War on agency] Whoa: "An unprecedented group of medical experts, legislators, legal scholars, business leaders, and reproductive justice advocates joined the Center for Reproductive Rights yesterday to announce the filing of 45 amicus briefs, urging the Supreme Court of the United States to overturn a Texas law that threatens to close more than 75% of abortion clinics in the state and deny millions of women access to safe, legal abortion." Do the right thing, SCOTUS, for fuck's sake!

GOOD: "After an hour of public debate on Tuesday, the Oklahoma City Council narrowly voted to ban LGBT discrimination in the housing sector."

[CN: Misogyny] What the hell: "Dan Salamone, an executive producer at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32, this week told the women who report on 'Good Day Chicago' not to wear hats during their outdoor live shots this winter, sources said Tuesday. Salamone's directive, which he did not issue to male reporters, said the women would 'look a lot better without hats' and should go without them from now on. He'd be willing to make an exception, he said, 'if it's 20 below.'"

[CN: Birtherism] Oh terrific: "Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has questioned whether rival candidate Ted Cruz is eligible to become his party's nominee because he was born in Canada. Mr Trump called it a 'very precarious' issue for the party and said that Mr Cruz's nomination could be challenged in court. Mr Cruz was born in Calgary to an American mother and a Cuban father. Most legal experts believe Mr Cruz meets the requirements to be president."

Neat! "Astronomers have spotted two huge waves of gas being 'burped' by the black hole at the heart of a nearby galaxy. The swathes of hot gas, detected in X-ray images from Nasa's Chandra space telescope, appear to be sweeping cooler hydrogen gas ahead of them. This vast, rippling belch is taking place in NGC 5194—a small, neglected sibling of the 'Whirlpool Galaxy,' 26 million light years away. That makes it one of the closest black holes blasting gas in this way."

Speaking of giant holes disgorging gaseous emissions: Mel Gibson will be a presenter at the Golden Globes, because of course he will.

[CN: Moving gifs at link] This is extraordinary: "Heartbreaking Video Uses a Gorilla Signing to Emphasize the Impact of Climate Change."

Wow: "Rare Giant Jellyfish Bred at Zoo Vienna."

And finally! "Woman Adopts Cat, Returns to Shelter for His BFF." All the blubs forever. ♥

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