Here is some stuff in the news today...
[Content Note: Terrorism] The latest from Brussels: "Belgian police captured a suspect carrying what a broadcaster said was a suitcase full of explosives on Friday, after shooting him in the leg during a major police operation following Tuesday's suicide bombings in Brussels. The federal prosecutor's office said the arrest was one of three in Brussels on Friday linked to the arrest in Paris the previous day of an Islamist convicted in Belgium last year and suspected of plotting a new attack. Nine people in total were arrested since Thursday in Belgium and two in Germany, as European authorities have swooped on militants they link both to the Brussels attacks that killed 31 people and to attacks in Paris last November that killed 130. Heavily armed police and troops with trucks cordoned off an area around a major intersection in the northern Brussels borough of Schaerbeek. Three blasts could be heard, which the local mayor Bernard Clerfayt said were controlled explosions."
So, the biggest US political news story today is that the National Inquirer is reporting Ted Cruz has had extramarital affairs with five women. Despite the fact that the National Inquirer is a tabloid, it has a truly remarkable track record for getting right stories about politicians' sex scandals. Many people will focus on the obvious hypocrisy of conservative Christian Ted "traditional marriage" Cruz cheating on his wife, so I want to point out that there's potentially a serious professional ethics violation here, as some of women with whom he allegedly cheated are said to be campaign staffers. In any case, it's neat how, if this story is indeed true, it still makes Ted Cruz only the second most objectionable candidate in terms of his attitude and behavior toward women. A+ party you've got there, Republicans!
[CN: Islamophobia] Meanwhile, in case anyone was still under the misapprehension that Ted Cruz's policy was somehow less terrible, bigoted, and dangerous than Donald Trump's: "Ted Cruz's presidential campaign is drawing extreme anti-Muslim propagandists into the mainstream of US politics, academics and Muslim civil rights groups are warning. ...[Trump's] proposal to close the borders to Muslims, among several of his other controversial policies, has prompted establishment GOP figures to swing behind Cruz as the 'stop-Trump' candidate. Yet by rushing to Cruz's aid, the Republican leadership is in danger of embracing a candidate who is even more extreme in his Islamophobic posturing than the current frontrunner. Cruz's foreign policy team includes people who have called for all mosques to be shut down across America, claimed the country is being subverted by the Muslim Brotherhood and decried all followers of the Islamic faith as jihadists. 'This is more than worrying, it is terrifying,' said Nathan Lean, a specialist in Islamophobia at Georgetown University's Bridge Institute."
[CN: War on agency next two paragraphs] "Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a controversial abortion bill Thursday that, among other things, would ban the procedure if it is sought because the fetus was diagnosed with a disability or defect such as Down syndrome. Shortly before his deadline to act on the sweeping measure, Pence called the law 'a comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life,' according to the Associated Press. The law, which was passed by the legislature earlier this month, would make Indiana the second state in the nation, after North Dakota, to ban abortion in cases where a fetal anomaly is detected. It also would bar the procedure in instances where the decision is based on the sex or race of the fetus. And it could make Indiana the first state in the country to require that fetal remains be buried or cremated, rather than treated like medical waste."
There is so much to unpack with everything that's wrong with this legislation. [CN: Disability] On the subject of denying abortion on the basis of a disability like Down syndrome, I will refer you (again) to this piece by David Perry, the father of a boy with Down syndrome and a journalist on disability issues, on the false binaries in decisions regarding aborting fetuses with Down syndrome. He makes clear that we need better support for people with disabilities, and for parents of children with disabilities—and I'm sure you'll be just SHOCKED to hear that Indiana is absolutely terrible at providing that support.
[CN: Water contamination] The Flint Water Advisory, an independent task force commissioned by Republican Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to review the Flint Water Crisis and its causes, has concluded that the crisis is a "story of government failure" and commends "the citizens who forced the nation to reckon with this environmental justice issue."
[CN: Misogyny; sexual harassment and assault] Just go read this whole thing by Franklin Foer: "Donald Trump Hates Women."
A new poll finds "women would overwhelmingly favor Hillary in a contest with Trump." Huh!
[CN: Send-up of misogyny] Y'all know I'm not a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel, but this segment in which he mansplains at Hillary Clinton everything she's doing wrong is amazing. Especially when Clinton gets the ultimate punchline.
"Sanders campaign keeps lawsuit against the DNC alive." Of course it does.
RIP Garry Shandling: "Comedian, actor, writer, and producer Garry Shandling, known for It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Larry Sanders Show, died Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed. He was 66." My condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and fans.
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] And finally! Do you want to see a panda taking a bath? Well, here you go!