In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

Today is International Women's Day. I don't know any better way I can mark this day besides resolving to keep treating every day like International Women's Day in this space.

[Content Note: Disablism] My oldest blogging friend, and one of the great liberal bloggers, Pam Spaulding, who for many years ran Pam's House Blend, could use some help, if you can. Shared with her permission.

Janell Ross on Hillary Clinton and female voters: "In September, a shocking poll showed that Clinton's support among women had dropped off about 30 points in two months. That's serious by just about any standard. But it turns out that Clinton's real problem wasn't with all women, it was with white women—despite political analysts expecting white, progressive women, in particular, to gravitate toward her campaign and key themes. At that point, less than half supported Clinton in the Democratic primary campaign—down from 63 percent in July. Of course, that was a long time ago—long before voting began. Now we have several states where we have gathered enough data from different groups of female voters with sample sizes large enough to tell us more... In fact, Clinton has lost the female vote in just two primary states—New Hampshire and Sanders's home state of Vermont. (She does worse overall in caucus states, but most don't have entrance poll data.) That has a lot to do with her performances among black women, but she also has been very strong among white women. ...Her biggest leads are with women of color. In fact, she's winning nearly 9 in 10 black female voters, and she won more than 7 in 10 Texas Latinas."

[CN: White supremacy; Nazi imagery] Rebecca Shabad: "Donald Trump says he's 'not happy' with comparisons to Hitler." I bet he isn't! If he's unhappy with the comparison, perhaps he should stop doing things that invite it. "'I don't know about the Hitler comparison. I haven't heard that. But it's a terrible comparison, I'm not happy about that certainly. I don't want that comparison,' Trump said on ABC's Good Morning America. Trump has recently started to ask voters at his campaign rallies to raise their right hands and pledge to vote for him—a sight that people have compared to the Nazi salute 'Heil Hitler.' ...On MSNBC's Morning Joe, Trump was asked whether he is trying to emulate Hitler. 'Boy, is that a stretch,' he said. '...They're raising their hands in the form of a vote, not in the form of a salute.' Asked if he would stop calling on voters to make that pledge, Trump told NBC's The Today Show, 'I mean I'd like to find out that that's true, but I would certainly look into it, because I don't want to offend anybody.'"

[CN: Surveillance; privacy violations] Welp: "The FBI has quietly revised its privacy rules for searching data involving Americans' international communications that was collected by the National Security Agency, US officials have confirmed to the Guardian. The classified revisions were accepted by the secret US court that governs surveillance, during its annual recertification of the agencies' broad surveillance powers. The new rules affect a set of powers colloquially known as Section 702, the portion of the law that authorizes the NSA's sweeping 'Prism' program to collect internet data. ...FBI officials can search through the data, using Americans' identifying information, for what PCLOB called 'routine' queries unrelated to national security. The oversight group recommended more safeguards around 'the FBI's use and dissemination of Section 702 data in connection with non-foreign intelligence criminal matters.'"

[CN: Climate change] A new study has found that climate change will result in an "intensification of the hydrological cycle," meaning more total precipitation and more extreme precipitation events. "This intensification has implications for the risk of flooding as the climate warms, particularly for the world's dry regions."

Relatedly: "[United States President] Barack Obama and [Canadian Prime Minister] Justin Trudeau will commit to work together to fight climate change and protect an Arctic experiencing the mildest winter ever recorded, sources familiar with the initiatives said. The two leaders were expected to announce a number of common climate measures at a meeting at the White House this week, from a 45% cut in methane emissions from the oil and gas industry to protections for a rapidly warming Arctic."

[CN: Homophobia] "Tuesday morning, Democrats in the Missouri Senate are still chatting about the many businesses that support their LGBT customers and the importance of not discriminating. They have been filibustering since 4:00 PM Monday afternoon to try to block legislation codifying anti-gay discrimination into state law. What they've been fighting all night is Senate Joint Resolution 39, which would advance a constitutional amendment that would protect religious organizations and individuals who oppose same-sex marriage. Mirroring the 'First Amendment Defense Act' introduced in Congress and other states, the amendment would protect those who wish to discriminate from any government 'penalty.' ...Around 8:00 AM Central Time, Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D) said that she believes that they could go at least 24 hours, noting that they were already two-thirds of the way there. 'I can do this all day,' she said. 'This is my prime time.' At that point, she and Sen. Jill Schupp (D) had been debating the measure by themselves for three hours." ROCK ON.

[CN: Misogyny] "Sexist attitudes are 'rife' in school textbooks used in developing countries, according to Unesco. The United Nations agency, marking International Women's Day, says negative stereotyping undermines the education of girls. It says too often female figures are represented in textbooks as 'nurturing drudges' in domestic roles. This is a 'hidden obstacle' to gender equality, says Unesco's Manos Antoninis. ...'Ensuring all boys and girls go to school is only part of the battle,' says Antoninis, from Unesco's global education monitoring report. 'What they are being taught is equally, if not more, important. Persistent gender bias in textbooks is sapping girls' motivation, self-esteem, and participation in school.'" I haven't looked at any school textbooks lately, but I'm guessing that it's still a problem everywhere, to varying degrees. Also? It's important what boys see girls doing in their textbooks, too.

[CN: Guns] Fuck the gun lobby: "The U.S. gun industry is trying to shake off the Hollywood hitman image of the gun silencer and rebrand it as a hearing-protection device in a campaign to roll back regulations that date to the 1930s. Industry lobbying has led to more than a dozen states legalizing silencers for hunting since 2011. Now gun advocates are pressing Congress to repeal a Depression-era law that requires a months-long screening process for silencer buyers—far more scrutiny than gun buyers face." We should be moving in the opposite direction.

And finally! Another heartwarming story about a children's reading program working with shelter pets: "'We let [the kids] read aloud to a cat, and it just does something really special,' Liz Ford of the Iowa City Animal Care Center told KFOR TV. 'These cats aren't going to correct their pronunciation.' ...Ford said the center's Read to the Paw program is helping both children and pets. 'It's a win-win situation,' she said. 'The cats are soothed and socialized by the young reader's voice, and students are able to strengthen their reading skills and build confidence by reading out loud in front of a non-judgmental audience,' shelter officials said in a news release." ♥

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