In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War on agency] Yesterday I mentioned Indiana House Bill 1337, an utterly appalling anti-choice piece of legislation. Today, that bill is being heard in committee, and you can follow coverage on Twitter under the hashtag #HB1337. Please see yesterday's post for ideas on how to take action.

[CN: War on agency] In other anti-choice fuckery: "An Alaska bill introduced last week requires doctors to terminate pregnancies in a way that affords 'the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive' after the procedure, without jeopardizing the woman's life. SB 179 also mandates Alaska physicians to judge if a fetus is viable and outlaws abortion care in those cases. ...In addition, the bill says fetuses that are 'born alive' can be turned over to the state's care under its 'children in need of aid' provision—an unusual requirement in anti-choice legislation." JFC.

[CN: Transphobia] Meanwhile, in transphobic fuckery: "South Dakota lawmakers passed an anti-trans bathroom bill on Tuesday that bans transgender students from using bathrooms in accordance with their gender identity. House Bill (HB) 1008 passed the state's house of representatives earlier this month and today cleared the senate by a vote of 15-20. If signed by Governor Dennis Daugaard, HB 1008 would be the first statewide bill in the United States to ban transgender students from using bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity." Rage seethe boil.

[CN: Flint water crisis; class warfare] I don't even have words: "Not only did Flint residents drink tap water contaminated with lead and other chemicals throughout 2015, but they were also paying the highest prices in the country to keep that poisoned water flowing through their pipes. A report released by Food & Water Watch on Tuesday confirmed what many residents had long suspected: that their water bills, averaging $140 a month, were the highest in the country."

Apple CEO Tim Cook explains why his company refuses "to help federal investigators unlock encrypted data hidden in a phone used by one of the San Bernardino terror suspects." Shorter Cook: Slippery slope!

[CN: Discussion of institutional racism] This is a great piece by Rembert Browne on Hillary Clinton's speech in Harlem yesterday, and with so much of the coverage of her address focusing on her coughing fit, I particularly lvoed his description of how the audience reacted to it: "It's like watching someone with the hiccups; you don't really know when they're going to end. But herein lies the beauty of the goodwill Hillary had built up in the room—the beauty of black people being an expressive bunch: The room started clapping loudly, almost to mask her coughs until she was done, to get her through this stretch. People were acting like it was church, when some member of the congregation gets up to speak but suddenly gets emotional or nervous. Shouts of 'Take your time, Hill' and 'You're okay' rang from all corners of the room. After a few coughs, Hillary squeaked out, 'I've got too much to say,' which was met with laughter. When some of the coughing halted, Hillary softly said a few sentences with her voice at about 10 percent strength, and after every few sentences, people cheered her on. There were even some 'HILLARY, HILLARY' chants. I couldn't believe it. This was followed by a second wave of coughs, more cheers and supportive messages from the crowd, which ended with Hillary saying, 'Thank you, you're a great amen chorus.' And a few minutes later, her voice was at full strength again. She was back."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] In other presidential news: Clinton and Sanders are separated by just one point in the new CNN/ORC Poll. "Overall, 48% of likely caucus attendees say they support Clinton, 47% Sanders. Both candidates carry their demographic strong points from prior states into Nevada, with Clinton holding an edge among women, while Sanders tops the former secretary of state among voters under age 55."

President Obama says Donald Trump will never be president. ""I continue to believe that Mr Trump will not be president. And the reason is because I have a lot of faith in the American people. ...They recognise that being president is a serious job. It's not hosting a talk show or a reality show, it's not promotion, it's not marketing, it's hard. It's not a matter of pandering and doing whatever will get you in the news on a given day." From your lips to Maude's ears, Mr. President!

Jeb Bush is the worst presidential candidate ever:

Video Description: Jeb Bush stands onstage at a campaign event, where he was being endorsed by Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham asks: "How many of you are Democrats?" No one in the crowd raises their hand. Jeb Bush looks around, then raises his hand, obviously trying to be funny, and then, when no one responds to his hilarious joke, he puts his hand down and looks around, awkwardly grinning.

[CN: Misogynoir] Perfection: An "anti-Beyoncé protest" (sure) scheduled in NYC yesterday was attended by, uh, no one. Except: "A bunch of pro-Beyonce people came out, and they joined up with some Black Lives Matter organizers, and the whole thing turned into a pro-Beyonce, pro-BLM, anti-police-violence demonstration. AMAZING."

[CN: Scat; sedition; racism] What the actual fuck: "The FBI said it has found a trench of human feces and a road excavated on or next to a sensitive cultural site with artifacts at the Oregon wildlife refuge where armed men staged a standoff with authorities, according to court records filed on Tuesday. ...U.S. Attorney Billy Williams of Oregon wrote in the filing that investigators found 'significant amounts of human feces' in a trench at an outdoor camping area that was either on or next to a 'sensitive cultural site.'"

[CN: Displacement] Y'all know I love space exploration as much as the next nerd, but I really loathe shit like this: "China is to relocate more than 9,000 people before the unveiling of the world's largest radio telescope later this year." Note that it's never, ever, white people who are displaced for the purposes of giant telescopes.

RIP George Gaynes. "Gaynes, who portrayed an irritable foster parent on the '80s sitcom 'Punky Brewster,' the bewildered commandant in seven 'Police Academy' films, and a soap opera star with a crush on Dorothy Michaels, whom he doesn't know is Dustin Hoffman's character in drag, in the hit feature comedy 'Tootsie,' died on Monday in North Bend, Wash. He was 98."

And finally! "Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted to announce the birth of a Przewalski's Horse foal, born on January 20. The female foal has been named Bukhara after a reserve in Uzbekistan, Mongolia, where the population of this Critically Endangered species is regaining a foothold after being declared Extinct in the wild. ...'There are now almost 2,000 Przewalski's Horses in human care and in the wild today, which is a huge step for this species that was once Extinct in the wild,' said [Unit Supervisor Pascale Benoit]." ♥

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