In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War; death] "A US air strike that destroyed a medical charity's clinic in northern Afghanistan, killing 42 people, was not a war crime, the Pentagon has said. Announcing disciplinary charges against 16 US service personnel, General Joseph Votel said the 'tragic strike' was due to human and technical errors. The gunship mistook the hospital at Kunduz—run by the group Medecins sans Frontieres [Doctors Without Borders]—for a building that had been seized by Taliban fighters. No one will face criminal charges. But as the error was 'unintentional,' it did not constitute a war crime, Gen Votel said. Instead, those punished were hit with measures such as suspension from command and letters of reprimand, which could have career-ending effects." Welp.

In news that you knew, but here is the proof: "What Happens When You Elect Women, According to Science." Spoiler Alert: It's better for women! And everyone!

[CN: Guns] "President Obama on Friday announced new efforts to speed up development of so-called smart guns, the latest step in his final-year push to reduce gun violence. Smart guns are weapons that use technological safety features designed to prevent accidental shootings, such as fingerprint activation that allows only designated users to fire the gun. The Obama administration is developing guidelines so that gun manufacturers understand how they can meet law enforcement agencies' needs for smart guns. The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security are expected to complete the guidance in October, according to a new interagency report published Friday." Smart guns still doesn't help the problem of not-smart (or, more importantly, not-decent) people using them.

[CN: Misogynoir] Geneva Reed-Veal, Sandra Bland's mother, who has been campaigning with Hillary Clinton, spoke at a symposium held by the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, "titled 'Barriers and Pathways to Success for Black Women and Girls,' which examined the current state of its constituents." Reed-Veal's speech was powerful, and you can watch video of it at Colorlines. Reed-Veal and all the other Mothers of the Movement are amazing. I recognize in their words that they're not superheroes; they need this movement and they need to part of it and leaders of it, in order to survive. Their fortitude has been obliged by sorrow, and I don't want to elide that with some dehumanizing commentary on their courage, when doing what one needs to survive isn't necessarily courageous as much as it just straight-up necessary. But they are amazing. And I deeply admire their tenacity and public vulnerability.

[CN: Disenfranchisement] Grumble: "The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected a bid to block a controversial Texas law that requires voters to show identification before voting, but left the door open to a renewed challenge before the November elections. The court denied a request filed by opponents of the law, including individual Texas voters, who say the law is not needed and disproportionately affects older and poorer voters, including minorities, who are less likely to have identification papers. The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is due to rehear the case on May 24. The high court's order said if the lower court has not acted on the case by July 20, then the opponents could renew their application to block the law ahead of the elections."

[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] "Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) has approved a law that allows counselors and therapists in the state to reject clients based on the professionals' 'sincerely held' principles, including their religious beliefs. Signed by Haslam on Wednesday, the legislation grants licensed counselors and therapists the permission to turn away clients whose 'goals, outcomes, or behaviors' conflict with the counselor's values. The legislation shields the practitioners from civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution. The GOP-backed measure requires counselors and therapists to coordinate a referral to another professional and does not apply in cases where clients seeking treatment are 'in imminent danger of harming themselves or others.' Counselors in Tennessee can already refer patients to other counselors 'if counselors lack the competence to be of professional assistance to clients.' The law's verbiage initially included the phrase 'sincerely held religious beliefs,' but Tennessee state senators ultimately approved a house amendment that changed the bill's language to 'sincerely held principles.'" Obviously, this could have far-reaching consequences: Though the LGBT community is likely to be most affected, feminist women and atheists and adherents to minority religions and people in mixed-race relationships, as but a few examples, could also be turned away.

"U.S. Senate hopeful Russ Feingold refused to say Thursday whether he voted for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin's Democratic presidential primary earlier this month, but he suggested that Sanders should start thinking about dropping out of the race. Feingold made the comments during a question-and-answer session with reporters following an appearance at a Madison club. He said talking about his vote would do no good since his goal is bring both candidates' supporters together. He also stressed that his ballot was secret. 'I'm not saying and I didn't even tell my wife,' Feingold said. 'I have a lot of admiration for both candidates. I see nothing positive about talking about my secret ballot.'" Seems perfectly reasonable. So what is the headline of this news item? "Feingold refuses to say if he voted for Clinton."

Yay! "Colombia's Constitutional Court has given final approval to same-sex marriage in the country and weddings could start very soon." Congratulations, Colombia!

Well, this is definitely my favorite headline of the day: "The biggest scientific instrument in the world was brought down by a tiny weasel." The Large Hadron Collider will be out of commission "for at least a week because a weasel chewed into a 66kV transformer near LHCb, causing an LHC-wide power cut."

[CN: Animal injury/death] And finally! "Rescue Hummingbird Won't Leave the Dog Who Saved Her Life: So strange, but amazing. I rescue this dog. He rescues the bird. The bird rescues all of us in a weird sense and it's just a miracle." ♥

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