Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Islamophobia] At Think Progress, Beenish Ahmed explains "Why It Matters That Obama Is Finally Visiting an American Mosque: Two-thirds of Republican voters polled and nearly half of all American voters said that they would favor a temporary ban on Muslim immigration to the U.S. That level of anti-Muslim sentiment is alarmingly high... Obama's visit to the Islamic Center will will closely follow the Iowa Caucus, and might be a way for Obama to send a strong message about the place of Muslims in America."
[CN: Misogynoir; police brutality; death] Rage seethe boil: A black teenage girl from Kentucky "who died at a juvenile detention center this month was restrained by guards who used a martial arts move and then failed to check on her throughout the night, a new report finds. Police initially said that Gynnya McMillen, 16, died in her sleep at Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown on Jan. 11. But the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting reported on Friday that officers took her down using an 'Aikido restraint' move, didn't check in on her overnight, and waited 11 minutes to give her CPR when they found her unresponsive." And what is supposed to have justified adults using such force on a child? "A state Department of Juvenile Justice spokesman told the Daily News that McMillen refused to take her hooded sweatshirt off when she was booked on a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault on Jan. 10."
[CN: ICE raids; trauma; racism] "The recent raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Central American asylum seekers have been deemed 'needlessly aggressive and potentially unconstitutional' by a new report [pdf] from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR). 'Families in Fear: The Atlanta Immigration Raids' focuses on the raids that took place in Georgia, the state hit hardest by the first large-scale effort to deport the more than 100,000 families who have fled violence in Central America since last year. The raids, which began January 2, spanned Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas, resulting in the detainment of 121 people. Despite previous reports that Central American 'families' were targeted, SPLC states that everyone detained during the sweep was a woman or a child." And a refugee seeking safety.
[CN: Child abuse; death] Well, I just blubbed my face off watching this extraordinary video of two moms meeting for the first time, after one mom whose son died donated his organs and the other mom's daughter received his heart. "That's your baby," said Esther Gonzalez, Jordan's mom, to Heather Clark, Lukas' mom, as she listened to her son's heart beating in Jordan's chest.
YES: "In a landmark decision, the United States Department of Health and Human Services has ruled for the first time that a transgender person is entitled to gender-confirming surgery under Medicare, according to a statement sent to The Advocate by the case's attorney, Ezra Young. Young represents Charlene Lauderdale, a retired master sergeant in the Air Force, a purple heart recipient, and a trans woman who has waited years to receive the trans-affirming health care from the Veterans Administration through an HMO called United Healthcare/AARP Medicare Complete. The HMO now has the right to bring suit against HHS in federal trial court to contest the decision within 30 days. 'This decision sends a clear message. No transgender person may be denied surgical benefits simply because of outdated ideas regarding transgender health care,' says Young in the statement."
[CN: Bullying] What in the everloving fuck is Ted Cruz even doing?! "Ted Cruz's Iowa Mailers Are More Fraudulent Than Everyone Thinks." Basically, his campaign is just pulling numbers out of their asses about people's voting records, and then using those fake numbers to try to shame them in front of their neighbors to bully them into voting. A new low.
In other Republican presidential news: "Bush Doing Whatever It Takes to Stay Relevant." Stay?
OMG this is so cute: Screen Actors Guild Award winner Uzo Aduba: "He asked me to the prom, I said yes. I asked him to SAGs, he said yes." EPIC FRIENDS!
[CN: Scat] "Baltimore Mayor Gives Support for Eight-Foot Monument to Divine, Featuring Dog Poop: ...Baltimore's mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, is completely down. The Baltimore Sun quotes her spokesperson, Howard Libit, saying, 'The mayor thinks that the idea sounds divine and looks forward to seeing more details on the proposal.'" Prepare for many pictures of Deeky and I standing in front of this statue.
Wow: "Conservationists have announced the 'amazing discovery' of a previously unknown lion population in a remote north-western region of Ethiopia, confirming local reports with camera trap photographs for the first time. Lions were spotted in the Alatash national park on Ethiopia's border with Sudan, lion conservation group Born Free said. 'The confirmation that lions persist in this area is exciting news,' Born Free Foundation said in a statement. 'With lion numbers in steep decline across most of the African continent, the discovery of previously unconfirmed populations is hugely important.'"
[CN: Bat; worms; video autoplays at link] And finally! A video of a bat being rehabilitated in wildlife rescue gets some yummy mealworms. I know not everyone thinks bats are cute, but I think they are soooooo cute!!!