In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War] "The UN says it has carried out its first air drop of aid in Syria to help civilians in an eastern city besieged by Islamic State (IS) militants. UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien told the Security Council that the plane dropped 21 tonnes of humanitarian items on a government-held part of Deir al-Zour. Initial reports indicated that the aid had successfully reached the target area, Mr O'Brien said. The UN says 200,000 civilians are living under siege in Deir al-Zour. In a recent report, the UN said those trapped in the besieged areas were facing 'sharply deteriorating conditions' with reports of 'severe cases of malnutrition and deaths due to starvation.' Last week, more than 100 lorries carrying food and other basic goods reached 80,000 people in five other besieged areas of Syria. Two more convoys were sent to two towns besieged by government forces on Tuesday."

[CN: Domestic violence; autonomy] "Tribal leaders and advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to brief Congress on implementation of a provision in the 2013 Violence Against Women Act, which affirmed tribes' ability to exercise special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction over non-Natives who commit domestic assault, or engage in dating violence, on tribal lands. Recognizing that the Department of Justice's 2014 decision to grant special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under VAWA was a 'historic' step toward upholding tribal sovereignty, advocates and tribal leaders say that the law should be expanded upon to grant greater protections to tribal citizens at risk of assaults by non-Natives, and that Nations should receive adequate resources to implement the law." Yup.

[CN: Racism; police brutality] Rock the fuck on: "Young activists in Chicago are waging a campaign against Cook County's state's attorney, Anita Alvarez, the prosecutor who took more than a year to press charges against Chicago Police Department officer Jason Van Dyke for fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. The latest blow in the #ByeAnita battle came this morning (February 24), when members of BYP100, Assata's Daughters, and Black Lives Matter Chicago came together to disrupt an event meant to raise funds for Alvarez's reelection. The coalition released a statement about this morning's action, which reads, in part: 'We will not be silent while the Chicago business and political elite continue to support Alvarez, who has presided over the 'false confession capital' while protecting murderous CPD officers, agents of one of the most violent police forces in the world.'"

[CN: Homophobia] Shit: "A proposed amendment that would constitutionally carve out religious exemptions for those objecting to same-sex marriage in Missouri got its first hearing before a Senate panel yesterday, the AP reports. The measure, SJR39, 'Prohibits the state from imposing penalties on individuals and religious entities who refuse to participate in same sex marriage ceremonies due to sincerely held religious beliefs.'" Never wonder why I call Indiana the Conservative Legislation Lab.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says "there isn't 'a snowball's chance in hell' that he will back down from his opposition to confirming a Supreme Court justice before a new president is elected." He seems neat.

Donald Trump has gotten his first congressional endorsements: "Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) told Politico on Wednesday that he will support Trump for the Republican nomination, making him one of the first members of Congress to express public support for the Manhattan businessman who is the prohibitive front-runner after his victory in Tuesday's Nevada caucuses. Also on Wednesday, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) told The Buffalo News that he is backing Trump, saying he has the 'guts and fortitude' to get jobs back from China and to take on foreign threats such as the Islamic State and North Korea." Gross.

In other endorsement news: "Top Senate Democrat Harry Reid said on Wednesday he would support Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination in the November election. In an interview with CNN, Reid said he thought the middle class would be better served by Clinton than by her rival Bernie Sanders, an Independent Senator from Vermont."

[CN: Police brutality] Bernie Sanders made a very good statement on police brutality and neglect: "Asked by the Guardian whether he thought police departments should be mandated to report all officer-involved deaths, the leftwing Democratic presidential candidate said he would also support legislation to that end. 'Yes,' he said. 'Let's rephrase it. You made a judgment: 'They kill.' When individuals die under police apprehension or police custody, should that be mandatory? Yes.'" A+

Ben Carson is so strange: "As Ben Carson slid down the polls after cresting around Halloween, firms closely connected with his campaign advisors and consultants hauled in millions of dollars in Carson's campaign funds. That state of affairs raised eyebrows and may have contributed to a major top-level staff shakeup at the end of last year. Now even Carson himself admits his moribund campaign has had the appearance of a big scam. During an appearance on 'CNN Newsroom' yesterday, Carson, referring to the propensity of his staffers to raise and spend huge sums of money, laughed and said, 'We had people who didn't really seem to understand finances… or maybe they did—maybe they were doing it on purpose.'" WHAT?!

Okay: "Jean-Claude Van Johnson would see [Jean-Claude Van Damme] playing a version of himself—a famous actor/martial-arts pro who also happens to be a secret black ops private contractor." Sure.

Dirty Dancing remake? Nah. Don't care who's cast. Nah.

And finally! "Children Read to Shelter Dogs in the Heartwarming 'Shelter Buddies' Program: Reading to the dogs helps to bring comfort to and reduce the anxiety of shelter pets. When children tell stories to the dogs, it also helps them develop their own reading skills." Awwwwwwww. ♥

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